Crime

FHP: Driver who fell asleep causes accident, traffic jam on Sunshine Skyway

MANATEE — A driver who fell asleep caused northbound traffic to slow to a crawl at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Friday morning, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

FHP responded about 7 a.m. to a dump truck-car accident in the outside lane of Interstate 275. One lane remained open, but the wreck caused slow-moving traffic, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, FHP spokesman.

About 11:15 a.m., the affected lane was reopened.

Brett Richter told an investigating trooper that he fell asleep at the wheel, causing him to rear-end the truck. Richter is charged with careless driving. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Darel Harris, driver of the dump truck, was cited for driving with an expired registration.

Wreckers removed both vehicles from the scene.

Because a dump truck is involved, Gaskins said a particular wrecker had to respond, adding to the delay of clearing the scene. Accessibility was also hindered due to the crash taking place on the bridge’s incline, he said.

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