Police: Semi truck driver in US-23 crash 'possibly fell asleep' before collision

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
A major crash on US-23 closed traffic on both sides of the freeway Wednesday morning.

A crash that injured a woman, set off a chain reaction and closed both northbound and southbound U.S. 23 in Washtenaw County Wednesday morning started when a semi truck driver "possibly fell asleep" prior to the incident, police said. 

The crash took place at 10:13 a.m. on northbound U.S. 23 near Six Mile. Lt. Darren Green, a Michigan State Police spokesman, said the crash happened when a semi truck in the middle lane, driven by a 27-year-old Farmington Hills man, "drifted into" another lane and hit a vehicle driven by a 24-year-old Chelsea man.

Both of those motorists suffered only minor injuries.

But the crash didn't end there, as the semi came crashing through the guard rails on the northbound freeway, across the median separating north and south, and hit a pickup truck on the south side, driven by a 69-year-old Manchester woman.

The woman had to be airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where she is listed in critical condition.

Crash reconstructionists are investigating the scene to tell the full story of what happened, and the semi truck driver has been tested for blood alcohol content, although police do not believe that played a factor in the crash.

Green said it's likely there would be an "enforcement action" against the at-fault driver, given the number of crashes in the main incident, the smaller crashes that occurred as a result, the amount of work needed to repair the roadway and guard rails and the seriousness of the victim's injuries.