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Next time you’re driving on the highway, take a brief second to observe what other people are doing in their cars. The things that people do while driving can range from silly to dangerous. Falling asleep behind the wheel, clearly, falls within the latter category.
Most drivers, at one point or another, have felt the toll of a long, stressful day that weighs heavily on his/her eyelids. Usually fatigue doesn’t pose a veritable threat to a driver or other people on the road. But there are exceptions. Driving tired, like driving intoxicated, can be extremely dangerous, especially if a person is pushed beyond their physical limits.
Needless to say, driving drowsy can cause serious car accidents that result in serious, and possibly life-threatening, injuries to others. However, the danger is multiplied when the vehicle is not a car, but a tractor-trailer truck. These behemoths are large and cumbersome to drive. Thus, to drive one legally, one must obtain a special license. Far too often, however, truck drivers fall asleep after long hours behind the wheel. The common result of this kind of mistake? Absolute disaster.
On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 56-year-old Dempsey Parker was sleeping in his tractor-trailer cab on the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Ohio. After a long night of driving, Mr. Parker needed to get some sleep, and so he had pulled over his semi-truck to rest for a short time. Unfortunately, Mr. Parker would experience a very rude awakening that morning.
At about 9:50 am that morning, another tractor-trailer, driven by 30-year-old Gurvinder Bajwa, slammed into the back of Mr. Parker’s truck. The impact of the collision sent Mr. Parker’s truck rolling into a ditch, where it caught on fire. Coincidentally, members of the Columbus, Ohio Fire Department were on their way to pick up a truck in Springfield when they came up on Mr. Parker’s truck, which was engulfed in flames. Acting out of instinct, the firefighters pulled Mr. Parker from the wreckage and immediately called for an ambulance. He was then brought to the Miami Valley Hospital, where he is still being treated for his injuries.
Mr. Bajwa, who was not injured in the accident, told police arriving at the scene that he had swerved to miss another vehicle on the road. Other drivers who witnessed the accident, however, told police that there were no other cars around Mr. Bajwa’s truck at the time, and that he had been slowly drifting to the right side of the road just before the collision occurred. No determination of fault has been made thus far, but a police investigation is ongoing.