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Trucker in Fatal Nebraska Crash May Have Fallen Asleep

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

An Illinois trucker whose tractor-trailer slammed into stalled traffic in western Nebraska may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.

A Nebraska state trooper testified in Cheyenne County Court Monday that Josef Slezak had been on duty for nearly 15 hours when he crashed into the back of a car on Interstate 80.

The car driven by Christopher Schmidt, of Gaithersburg, Md., was pushed into another vehicle that was carrying his pregnant wife, Diana Schmidt, and their two children. The family was killed.

Authorities say Slezak left Milwaukee, Wis., around 3 p.m. on Sept. 8. Authorities believe fatigue was a factor, because Slezak didn't slow down before the early-morning crash.

Slezak is charged with four counts of manslaughter and five counts of motor vehicle homicide.

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