Witnesses help DPS find semi driver who hit, damaged I-17 overpass

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Department of Public Safety says a driver from North Las Vegas was behind the wheel of the semi that took out a chunk of the Jefferson Street overpass on Interstate 17 earlier this month.

DPS on Tuesday identified the man as Shayne Skougard.

Investigators say witnesses who provided detailed descriptions of the truck and its driver were instrumental in tracking down the 32-year-old. The Arizona Department of Transportation also aided DPS in the search. Skougard’s company had to apply for a permit from ADOT to haul the over-sized load through the state.

When Skougard’s rig, which is believed to have been carrying a crane, hit the Jefferson Street overpass the morning of Oct. 4, it damaged five girders supporting the bridge that spans the southbound lanes of I-17.

According to ADOT, Skougard stopped briefly on the other side of the bridge, but then drove away.

Responding to reports of debris in the road, ADOT crews quickly saw what had happened.

"It's very obvious that an oversize truck that was too big for the bridge struck the bridge causing some severe damage," explained DPS Officer Carrick Cook the day of the crash.

Plans for repairing the damaged girders are under way. The cost has not been determined, but ADOT says it plans to file a claim with the company's insurance carrier.

Skougard has been cited for violating the restrictions of his oversize permit, causing the crash and hit-and-run. If found guilty, he faces hefty fines, jail time and even the suspension of his commercial driver's license.

An Internet search found that Skougard pleaded no contest last November to "one count of driving a vehicle exceeding allowed gross weight by 16,420 pounds." According to the Cortez Journal, he was slapped with more than $900 in fines and costs.

A plea of no contest means Skougard neither admitted to nor disputed the charge.