OSP: Trucker falls asleep, crashes at Hwys. 97-31 jct.
A truck driver from California was cited Monday morning after he fell asleep and his rig crashed off the Highways 97-31 junction south of La Pine, Oregon State Police said.
An unknown amount of paint spilled in the trailer, troopers said, and hazardous materials personnel were called in to assist with unloading the paint cargo before the overturned truck and trailer are removed.
According to Senior Trooper Jason Hansen, shortly after 5 a..m., a 2013 Mack truck pulling two trailers driven by Dennis C. Chaffin, 54, of Chilcoot, California, was westbound on Highway 31 when he reportedly fell asleep as he approached the Highway 97 junction, where there are two yellow traffic signs and a flashing yellow light warning drivers to stop ahead.
The truck and trailers traveled off the north shoulder on Highway 31, where the driver awoke and over-corrected as he tried to steer back onto the road, Hansen said. The truck and trailers overturned and slid through the intersection, where the truck crashed into an ODOT sign before coming to rest.
Chaffin, who was wearing his seat belt, told officers he was not injured. LaPine Rural Fire Protection District EMS personnel checked him at the scene, and he declined to go to a hospital for a medical evaluation.
Chaffin was cited on charges of careless driving and failure to obey traffic control devices.
The trailers' cargo included buckets of paint and paint thinner. Several buckets and containers spilled open in the trailers.
SMAF Environmental haz-mat personnel responded to clean up and assist with off-loading the cargo. Those cleanup efforts were expected to last several hours.
Oregon State Police troopers from the Bend Area Command office were assisted at the scene by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, La Pine Rural Fire Protection District, SMAF Environmental and ODOT.
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