Two men who hopped in a getaway car after surviving a rollover crash in a dump truck were arrested Monday night.
The driver, 28-year-old Ricardo Martinez Vazquez, lost control of the truck after its brakes failed coming east down Teton Pass.
The truck rolled and skidded to a halt just before 6 p.m. across from the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson.
Vazquez and his passenger, 35-year-old Jose Oscar Martinez Duran, walked away from the crash and got into a van with co-workers and drove off.
They got a mile down the road before being stopped by Teton County deputies.
When the men were returned to the crash scene, investigators realized they had no driver’s licenses, no commercial driver’s licenses, no log book, no U.S. Department of Transportation number and no medical card.
But they did have insurance.
The 1981 dump truck was totaled and roofing supplies were strewn across Highway 22.
“The service records were not up to date and the driver was not trained or qualified to be driving the truck, especially on such a steep grade,” Wyoming Highway Trooper Andy Jackson said. “His lack of a commercial driver’s license is a big concern. When you get your CDL you learn how to downshift properly on those grades.”
The truck had Oklahoma plates and was registered to a man in Oklahoma City, Jackson said.
It was being used for a commercial roofing job the men had been working in Teton Village, investigators believe.
They had been driving back and forth from Idaho Falls to Teton Village for work.
“It poses a huge safety concern for all drivers of Teton Pass,” Jackson said. “They are lucky no one got killed.”
The men, both of Texas, were scraped and bleeding but refused medical treatment.
Investigators don’t know which job they’ve been working in Teton Village and are unsure who their employer is, since the truck isn’t registered to a company.
Jackson said this isn’t the first time he’s seen a truck on Teton Pass that’s in violation of several federal motor carrier safety statutes.
“There are hundreds of things you have to comply with,” he said. “The maintenance and upkeep of that type of truck is expensive. They have to have really good tires and brakes. It’s a big strain on that truck going up and down the pass all the time.”
Jackson said most companies follow the regulations.
But the ones that don’t are putting motorists at risk.
“There are employers out there paying hundreds to do it honestly and barely getting by,” Jackson said, “and these guys are running an illegal operation.”
Vazquez and Martinez were charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, seat belt violations and several federal citations.
They were released from Teton County Jail Tuesday morning on their own recognizance and given June 19 court dates.