Trucker dies in I-80 accident that stalled traffic

A North Carolina trucker died Wednesday in a collision involving three semis that stalled traffic on I-80 east of Laramie for over two and a half hours. The Wyoming Highway Patrol says 37 year old Vasile Samu died when his semi struck the rear of the stopped semi in front of him at an estimated speed of 60 miles per hour in snowy, windy conditions 19 miles west of Laramie. The accident happened shortly before 10:30 a.m.

The Highway Patrol says two semis in front of Samu's truck were stopped when the collision occurred on the snowpacked highway at a time of reduced visibility due to blowing snow. The Patrol says the cab of Samu's semi was crushed backward and intruded partially into the sleeper, causing the victim to be pinned inside the vehicle. The Patrol says the two semis became locked together and traveled 53 feet after impact.

Contributing factors were not only the speed Samu was traveling, but also the fact he was talking on his cellphone. He was telling the person his speed and his location just prior to the accident.

Samu died at the scene. The other drivers were not injured.

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