Investigators: Truck driver in fatal crash may have fallen asleep

A dramatic crash that left a tractor-trailer strewn across a highway overpass Friday morning was possibly caused by the truck driver falling asleep behind the wheel.

That driver, Denzal Jamal Stewart, 33, of Bryan, Texas, died in the crash. One of the two dogs in the cab with Stewart was also killed. 

A tractor-trailer lays across an overpass Friday morning south of Pueblo.  Pueblo County Sheriff's Office/X

A spokesman with the Colorado State Patrol told CBS News Colorado that impairment from alcohol or drugs is not considered a factor in the crash, nor is excessive speed. 

But CSP investigators are looking into the possibility the driver fell asleep.

The crash closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 25 south of Pueblo for 14 hours. The call came into 9-1-1 just after 7 a.m., per CSP. 

A semi straddles an overpass south of Pueblo on Interstate 25 Friday morning. The southbound lanes of the highway were closed for 14 hours for the investigation and removal of the debris. Pueblo County Sheriff's Office/X

At this point, CSP accident investigators believe the northbound semi went off the left side of the road, collided with a guardrail, veered across the road and into the median where it hit another guardrail and went across the southbound lanes. The cab and trailer jack-knifed, then the trailer rolled. Together, the truck and trailer went up an overpass embankment and over two lanes of traffic. The tractor landed on the east side of the overpass, landing on the cab. The trailer broke open, spilling its cargo of hamburger patties. 

Pueblo County Sheriff's Office/X

A 26-year-old Walsenburg man driving in the southbound lanes had the top of his pickup hit by the rolling trailer, but he was uninjured, per CSP.

A tow truck stabilizes the wreckage of a tractor-trailer that crashed Friday morning south of Pueblo. Pueblo County Sheriff's Office/X

The surviving dog was extricated from the wreckage and handed to personnel from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

Crews work to free the driver and two dogs from the wreckage of a semi that crashed on I-25 Friday morning.  Pueblo County Sheriff's Office/X

The southbound lanes at mile marker 88 were re-opened at 9:17 p.m. Friday night. 

Pueblo Fire Department/X

Five fire departments, three law enforcement agencies, CDOT crews, an ambulance and a medical helicopter, and two tow truck companies responded to the scene.

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