All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were blocked for over an hour Friday morning near Kelso after a semi truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, the Washington State Patrol reports. State troopers and medics responded to the scene, about three miles north of Kelso, at about 6:50 a.m. after receiving reports of a serious rollover accident involving a semi rig. The semi tractor-trailer was found lying on its side across all three southbound lanes, causing a lengthy backup that stretched for miles at one point. But crews were later able to push the overturned semi trailer off the roadway using heavy machinery, and all lanes were reopened to traffic.
UPDATE: All lanes of SB I-5 are CLOSED north of Kelso/Longview due to a rolled over semi. Clean up is going to take a while. Delay travel or use an alternate route. pic.twitter.com/QvZjXLbDih
— WSDOT – Southwest (@wsdot_sw) March 23, 2018
The rig was later righted and towed from the scene. A preliminary investigation found that the semi driver fell asleep at the wheel while heading south at freeway speeds. He suddenly woke up and overcorrected, causing the semi to roll over onto its side and crash. The driver now faces a citation for second-degree negligent driving. The driver was uninjured. The crashed semi trailer was loaded with cardboard.
— Hannah Olsen (@HannahONews) March 23, 2018