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Semi-truck driver gets prison for February crash that severely injured two people

Crime Watch

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POCATELLO — A semi-truck driver who crashed into oncoming traffic causing serious injury to at least two people has been sentenced.

Shane Ray Warr, 57, of Blackfoot, was ordered to spend a minimum of five years in prison by District Judge Robert Naftz at a sentencing hearing on Nov. 10. The sentence carries a maximum prison sentence of 13 years, as well as $3,140.50 in fines.

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Warr was driving his semi on northbound Interstate 15 from Malad on Feb. 3 when he fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the median and collided with two vehicles. His semi came to rest on a hillside after crashing through the guardrail on the southbound side of I-15 about one mile north of the 5th Avenue exit in Pocatello.

Two separate breathalyzer tests administered at the scene returned blood-alcohol concentrations of 0.132 and 0.124. Idaho’s legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04.

Shane Warr crash (the photo DOT credited to someone else)
The scene of the crash after cleanup had begun. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

One of the two cars Warr hit was driven by 54-year-old Debbie Akers, of Pocatello. Akers was extracted from her vehicle by Pocatello firefighters and transported to Portneuf Medical Center, where she was treated for extensive injuries.

She has since filed a civil suit against Warr and the company for which he was working, TEC Distribution of Idaho, LLC.

A jury trial to settle the lawsuit has been scheduled for July 19, 2022.

RELATED | Semi driver, distribution company facing lawsuit for February injury crash

Akers suffered “severe and permanent injuries,” the lawsuit says, including fractures to her right femur and lumbar spine, requiring a steel rod and fusion of five vertebrae.

At the time of the crash, Warr had a passenger in his cab. The passenger, James King, has since filed his own civil suit against Warr and TEC Distribution. That lawsuit alleges King suffered a broken back and compound fracture in his left foot.

A jury trial to settle the second lawsuit has not yet been scheduled.

RELATED | Second civil suit filed against semi driver, employer involved in DUI crash

Following the crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared Warr an “imminent hazard.” Warr must successfully complete a “statutorily required return-to-duty process,” which will be monitored by a substance abuse professional before he is allowed to operate a commercial vehicle again.

As part of his sentencing, Warr’s driver’s license was suspended for five years, beginning the day he is released from prison.

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