When Cody man Ronald Frankenberry II’s tractor-trailer hauling truck fell off a cliff on the Chief Joseph Highway slide project last fall, he was highly impaired and didn’t engage the brakes, according to a report released Monday.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol received the final summary from Wyoming Occupation Safety and Health Administration. The investigation determined the crash was not caused by mechanical error.
The crash occurred Oct. 12, 2018, when Frankenberry’s truck ran off a 250-foot cliff while working on the Chief Joseph Slide repair project.
Frankenberry, 26, was working as a truck driver for Oftedal Construction, a contractor on the Wyoming Department of Transportation project, according to WYDOT.
The contractor was cited by OSHA for allowing an impaired driver to operate heavy equipment. OSHA said all safety deficiencies noted were corrected.
The highway patrol report noted evidence at the scene showed the rock truck had vaulted off the mountain, rotated vertically 180 degrees, and landed upside down in Dead Indian Creek. Frankenberry was wearing his lap-only seat belt but succumbed to his injuries sustained at the scene of the crash.
Wyoming Highway Patrol and WY OSHA determined there were no signs of braking before the crash. The tractor-trailer was in seventh gear with the manual braking and manual engine retarder levers in their operational position.
The truck has redundant braking and steering systems, and there appeared to be no mechanical issues.
Through the investigations and interviews with the family and co-workers and reviewing smartphone activity over the last 48 hours of his life, it was learned Frankenberry II was impaired, the report states.
That confirmed what investigators had heard from people who knew Frankenberry.
WHP Lt. Lee Pence said at the time that they would be looking into the possibility Frankenberry was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The blood sample from the Park County Coroner’s Office confirmed Frankenberry was highly impaired at the time of the rock truck crash.
The accident happened after 9 p.m. when the truck driven by Frankenberry side swiped another haul truck.