The driver of a Franz bread company double-semi tractor-trailer rig lost control at 50th Street and Lief Erikson Drive as he rounded a curve by the Crest Motel around 2:25 a.m. today. The westbound rig crossed the centerline and collided with the bank on the south side of the highway, narrowly missing a power pole. It then went up the driveway of a home and came to rest in the mud.
Astoria police said the driver, Travis Wayne Churney, 34, of Troutdale, apparently fell asleep at the wheel. He was not injured.
The tractor unit was heavily damaged, but an Astoria Fire Department spokesman said the 200 gallons of diesel in the damaged tank did not leak out. A big tow truck was able to separate the trailers and pull them back on the road and another tractor from Franz arrived to take them away.
The southbound lane of the highway was closed until Oregon Department of Transportation personnel using a snow plow were able to remove several inches of mud. Astoria police controlled traffic for about an hour after the wreck and then ODOT took over. Astoria Fire Department personnel remained at the scene until almost 7 a.m.