NEAR MATTAWA, Wash. - A semi-truck driver in Eastern Washington was injured Monday afternoon when his big rig went off a highway into the Columbia River Gorge.
It happened just after 2:00 p.m. along State Route 243, just south of the Shawanna area, north of Mattawa.
Witnesses told the State Patrol the road was icy and slushy in places. They said the driver was going too fast for conditions when he apparently lost control on a curve.
The truck and trailer full of apples plowed through a guardrail and rolled down an embankment into the Columbia River.
The driver was able to make it out of the truck. He suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital.
Troopers said part of the mangled truck cab remained on shore, but the trailer broke free and floated down river, towards Priest Rapids Dam.
The Grant County Public Utility District was called in to help retrieve the trailer. Crews used two boats to pull the drifting trailer to a sandbar and secure it overnight. They'll return Tuesday morning to figure out how to remove it.
The northbound lanes of State Route 243 were closed for over four hours while a tow truck worked to pull the semi cab from the embankment.
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