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Originally published http://www.komotv.com : Tuesday, 7/15/2003

Tanker Driver Had Been Cited For Falling Asleep At Wheel

By KOMO Staff & News Services

LYNNWOOD - The driver of a gasoline tanker truck that crashed and burst into a fireball on Interstate 5 was cited last month for falling asleep at the wheel and in 1990 for heroin possession, records show.

The driver, 32-year-old Gary Brammer, of Puyallup, contacted authorities on Tuesday to discuss the accident.

He had spoken briefly with a Washington State Patrol trooper at the scene of Saturday's crash, but then disappeared. Officials have said there was no evident reason to detain him at the scene.

The patrol did not release any details of what Brammer said during the discussion Tuesday.

Trooper Lance Ramsay said Monday the driver likely would be given a ticket, probably for negligent driving,

"Witnesses have said he looked like he was falling asleep" shortly before the tanker he was driving for Harris Transportation Co. of Portland, Ore., crashed into a guard rail in this suburb north of Seattle, Ramsay said. The tanker was carrying more than 11,000 gallons of gasoline, which exploded in flames.

Despite the force and heat of the explosion, the only damage appears to be a slight bump in the two right northbound lanes of the 44th Avenue West overpass and some scorched concrete barriers.

The northbound lanes were closed for 18 hours before a state bridge inspector declared the overpass safe for traffic and the northbound lanes were reopened early Sunday morning.

Brammer was treated at Providence Everett Medical Center for a minor foot injury. No one else was injured.

Last month, Brammer paid an $86 fine to Aukeen District Court in Kent after he swerved to miss a guardrail and drove off the road into some bushes, patrol officials said.

In 1990 he was convicted of heroin possession, served five days in jail and was required to perform 240 hours of community service and remain under supervision for 24 months, court records show.

Brammer, who had a good record in his four years with Harris Transportation, has been temporarily suspended, a standard procedure following an accident, said Mike Daily, a company official.