Trucker charged with driving under the incluence of drugs

May 13 2010 - 6:24pm

OGDEN -- The truck driver who crashed a semi-truck full of diesel fuel into a barrier on Interstate 15 in Roy in March was arrested today after authorities received blood test results indicating he was under the influence of illegal drugs when he crashed.

Shane Oliver, 55, was arrested at his South Weber home and booked into Weber County Jail on charges of driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and unsafe lane travel.

The toxicology report on blood taken at McKay-Dee Hospital after the March 17 crash came back positive for methamphetamine and its metabolite amphetamine, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The findings indicate there was likely past meth use as well, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jimmy Higgs.

A charge of failure to carry his medical card was added to the booking. Oliver did not have a card that truck drivers are required to carry with a doctor's certification they are in good physical shape to operate a semi-truck. Oliver later told police he hadn't been to the doctor in three years, the probable cause states.

Oliver told troopers he fell asleep while moving about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel from Golden Eagle Oil Refinery in Woods Cross to a location in Ogden. He was close to completing a nearly 12-hour shift, having already made runs to Brigham City and Logan. He awoke after feeling a big jolt and climbed out of the truck to see much of the diesel fuel was burning.

Oliver had no serious injuries and no other vehicles were involved. Authorities say there were few motorists on the road at the 4:15 a.m. crash, which spilled diesel fuel all over the highway. I-15 was closed between the 650 North exit in Clearfield and the 5600 South exit in Roy for more than 12 hours, causing headaches for commuters who faced heavy delays after being detoured onto side streets.

The crash caused days of cleanup along the median and right shoulder. Two sections of the highway had to be repaved because the diesel fuel destroyed the asphalt.

Authorities later revealed they had found drug paraphernalia inside the semi truck and planned to file charges once toxicology lab results came back. Those tests can take up to eight weeks to complete.

Oliver spoke to the Standard-Examiner the day after the crash and denied having used drugs during his shift. He said he had no knowledge of the alleged drug paraphernalia and was concerned he would lose his job.

"I just fell asleep. It wasn't nothing else," Oliver said.

Authorities now say Oliver admitted to have taken the prescription painkiller Lortab while he was being interviewed on the scene.

Troopers became suspicious while speaking to him because he appeared sleepy, his pupils were non-reactive and he had slow and deliberate speech, a trooper wrote in the probable cause.

According to the document, a tow truck driver on scene found a broken glass meth pipe inside the cab before the semi was hauled away.

A spokesperson with Golden Eagle said the company had not yet been informed of the charges and could not comment on the case. It is unclear if Oliver had been retained by the company as an employee during the investigation.

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