Sleepy driver crashes semi

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A tanker truck driver from LaPlace suffered minor injuries Thursday when her 18-wheeler overturned on Interstate 10 just west of Baton Rouge, said a spokesman for Louisiana State Police.

Sgt. Markus Smith, public affairs official for State Police Troop A, said Tiffany Rideaux, 35, was transported to Baton Rouge General Medical Center following the crash, which occurred around 4:57 a.m. Thursday a few miles east of the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. Smith said Rideaux told troopers she had been very drowsy just prior to the accident.

According to a release from State Police, Rideaux was traveling eastbound on I-10 in a tanker truck owned by Martin Transport when the truck began to drift toward the center median. Rideaux tried to steer the truck back onto the roadway, but overcorrected and swerved toward the right shoulder. The truck swerved back to the left, re-entered the center median and began to roll over finally coming to rest across both westbound lanes of the interstate. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Smith said the tanker truck was empty at the time of the accident, but small amounts of molten sulphur residue were found inside the tanker. He said a State Police Emergency Services Unit and a hazardous materials crew from the Department of Environmental Quality responded to the scene as a precaution until the truck could be removed from the roadway. The accident caused the closure of all lanes of I-10 in the area for about four hours.

State Police investigators said alcohol use by the driver is not considered a factor in the wreck. It is believed that the driver had been sleep deprived. Smith said the wreck should serve as a reminder that drowsiness behind the wheel of a vehicle can be just as dangerous as alcohol impairment.