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Semi driver survives after careening 65 feet off I-44 into Big Piney River valley
Semi driver survives after careening 65 feet off I-44 into Big Piney River valley

A semi laden with auto parts careened into a river valley Friday morning.
DEVIL’S ELBOW, Mo. (May 28, 2010) — People at O’Reilly Auto Parts had a longer wait this morning when the driver of a semi truck filled with auto parts fell asleep at the wheel about 5:35 a.m., ran off the right side of the westbound lanes of Interstate 44 a quarter-mile east of the Big Piney River, went to the right of the guardrail separating the roadway from an adjacent field, barely missed a roadway sign, and careened down a steep embankment into the river valley at mile marker 165.8.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, Floyd L. Deal, 44, of Seymour, suffered moderate injuries in the wreck and was transported by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel to Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla.

“We carried him 65 feet up the embankment and gave him to the ambulance and they hauled him away,” said Waynesville Rural Fire Chief Doug Yurecko. “It would have been an interesting ride down.”

Troopers reported that Deal had not been wearing his seat belt.

Deal’s semi truck, a 2005 Sterling tractor-trailer, was extensively damaged. After consultation with Jack’s Towing personnel, the truck was left at the scene to be removed at a later time due to the muddy condition of the ground.

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