Trucker Suspected of Eating While Driving Loses 80,000 Pound Load of Muffins
St. George, UT – A semi-truck hauling a load of frozen muffins was called a “total loss” after it took out more than 3,000 feet of guardrail before rolling off the shoulder on Interstate 15 last week.
According to St. George News, the accident occurred around 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday, August 12 in the southbound lanes of I-15, near mile marker 36.
Authorities said the truck was traveling south from Ontario, Canada and hauling 80,000 lbs. of frozen muffins as it was passing through St. George.
As the truck — which is owned by Brampton, Ontario-based TransNet Freight Ltd. — passed mile marker 36, it began to drift right.
It continued over the hill at the Black Ridge exit and struck a guardrail, taking out approximately 3,000 feet of metal.
It finally came to rest further up the hill, where it rolled and landed completely upside down.
Police arrived to the scene to discover the truck’s driver and passenger inside the upside down truck, unable to free themselves.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), both occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
They were freed by firefighters from Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
UHP Sargent Larry Mower confirmed the driver and passenger were released from the hospital later on Wednesday.
Numerous dumpsters were brought to the scene to dispose of the entire load of muffins.
An investigation is ongoing as to what caused the accident, and officials have not ruled out speeding and/or distracted driving.
Authorities pointed out the accident took place in a construction zone, where the roadway is in the process of undergoing a repaving project.
Sgt. Mower specified the construction did not play a part in the accident.
A worker located north of where the semi crashed told investigators that “seconds before the incident took place, he noticed the sound of tires moving at a higher pitch than the ambient sound of the surrounding traffic,” St. George News reported.
UHP said while this doesn’t “necessarily indicate” that the trucker was speeding, investigators have not ruled out that possibility.
Additionally, investigators said food was found “strewn throughout the cab” of the truck, which, they say, is an “indicator” the driver may have been eating, and thus distracted, while driving.
“But again, we don’t know for sure if the driver was eating when this happened,” Sgt. Mower stated.
Mower also said investigators went to the hospital to visit with the driver and passenger in the hours following the crash to ask questions.
The tractor, trailer, and load of muffins were all a total loss.
The righthand lane of I-15 south was closed for approx. 12 hours as investigators and clean-up crews worked the scene.