Nevada Highway Patrol: Semi driver fell asleep before deadly crash north of Las Vegas

Authorities respond to a multi-vehicle crash on U.S. 93 northeast of Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (KSNV)

UPDATE, July 19 | The Clark County Coroner's Office has identified the two people killed as 50-year-old Robert Jay Barnes and 34-year-old Christopher Markley, both of Idaho.

According to the Coroner's Office, both men died from blunt force injuries, and their deaths have been ruled to be accidents.

ORIGINAL | Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers say a semi-truck driver admitted he fell asleep before a five-vehicle crash on US 93 that killed two men from Idaho.

The crash happened just before 6 a.m. Wednesday at an active construction zone.

According to NHP, the semi was filled with sand, so the driver could not stop in time, running over the car in front of him.

The car was ripped in half, split down the middle. The two men inside were pronounced dead at the scene.

They were identified as 35-and 50-year-old men from Idaho.

According to NHP, the semi driver hit three other vehicles, including a car that flipped over.

The drivers of those vehicles remarkably survived.

The crash is a reminder about the dangers of being sleep deprived behind the wheel.

“Drowsy driving is just as bad as if you were impaired or texting and driving,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk. “It is just as dangerous and it has the same tragic consequences. As we saw here today."

According to NHP, those consequences are expected to bring charges to the driver of the semi. It was not immediately known what charges he would face.

If you find yourself driving drowsy, Buratczuk suggests you quickly find a safe place to pull over.

"If you can get out, take a walk to get the blood flowing. When it is safe, get somewhere where you can safely take a nap,” he explained.

NHP did not indicate how many hours the semi driver has been behind the wheel before the fatal crash. That is part of the department's investigation.

News 3 has learned federal rules limit truckers to 70 hours behind the wheel each week.

The Nevada Trucking Association also told News 3 that truckers cannot drive for more than 11 hours a day and must have a 30 minute break in their schedules.

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