Potato truck wreck on Teton Pass

The cab of a semitractor-trailer loaded with potatoes is now located in the woods near the base of Teton Pass.

A potato truck that plowed into a storage shed on Teton Pass last week was 17,000 pounds over the weight limit for the highway, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said Thursday.

Charges against the driver are pending, Lieutenant Matt Brackin said.

“We haven’t issued any citations yet,” he said. “Due to the driver’s injuries, we haven’t been able to make good contact.”

The driver, 31-year-old Jackson Altema, is licensed out of Tennessee. His semi had Illinois plates. He was released from St. John’s Medical Center on Oct. 5, a hospital spokesperson said.

The truck was loaded in Sugar City, Idaho. Despite at least six signs warning of the weight limit between there and the pass, Brackin said Altema said he didn’t notice any.

The weight limit on Teton Pass is 60,000 pounds. The fine for driving 17,000 pounds over is $655, Brackin said.

When the semi’s brakes failed the evening of Sept. 30, Altema steered into the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s sand storage shed.

The pass’ vehicle arrestor, meant to safely catch out-of-control vehicles, has been closed since Sept. 10, when a pickup with a flatbed trailer crashed through it. WYDOT is investigating the system.

With the arrestor closed, WYDOT plans to close the pass to eastbound trailer traffic Oct. 15, rather than the usual Nov. 15. Westbound trailers can still cross, barring bad weather, until Nov. 15.

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063 or county@jhnewsandguide.com.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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