Driver fell asleep before crash that closed State Route 840 - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Driver fell asleep before crash that closed State Route 840

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A truck driver admits he fell asleep behind the wheel right before a crash Tuesday morning that closed part of State Route 840 in Williamson County for several hours.

"I just nodded, just nodded off. It happened so quick, you just don't know," said truck driver Joe Carter.

Officials say the driver told them he was headed westbound near Exit 14 when he fell asleep and started to veer off the road, hitting a guardrail around 2 a.m. This caused the load to shift, and the truck flipped over. The crash took out about 300 feet of guardrail.

Carter escaped the violent crash uninjured, and the guardrail likely prevented his truck from rolling 30 to 40 feet down the side of the highway near Pinewood Road.

The tractor-trailer was loaded with aluminum used for making cars, and the debris of cargo and spilled diesel meant the westbound lanes of 840 were closed for about eight hours.

Carter says he had just stopped for coffee and to fix a flat tire within the hour before the crash.

"I'm fortunate I didn't hurt anybody. You can replace equipment, but I hurt nobody or myself real bad. That's what's good," he said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation sent inspectors to make sure there was not any damage to the bridge, and crews will fix the guardrail.

Carter said he was so frightened by the whole thing, he is now going to retire.

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