Truck driver in fiery fatal crash said he was asleep

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Interstate 17 is closed in both directions in northwest Phoenix because of a fatal accident and vehicle fire during the morning commute Wednesday. By Mike Gertzman Interstate 17 is closed in both directions in northwest Phoenix because of a fatal accident and vehicle fire during the morning commute Wednesday. By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The truck driver accused of causing a fatal crash on Interstate 17 on Wednesday morning told investigators he was asleep.

He may have been impaired by the prescription pain relief medication Soma, according to court documents released on Thursday.

Brian Knoll, 54, is facing charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and endangerment.

Knoll told investigators that he did not apply the brakes before during or after the collision because he was asleep. He said he took Soma on Tuesday evening and had no memory leading up to or during the collision.

During a field sobriety test Knoll was unable to keep his balance, mumbled, had slurred speech, droopy eyelids, bloodshot watery eyes, was not able to complete simple tasks and did not follow instructions. There was no odor of alcohol.

He said he was hauling pavers from 43rd Ave. and Buckeye Rd. to a location on the Carefree Highway.

Five vehicles were involved in the collision just before 7 a.m. in the northbound lanes of Bell Rd.

Knoll was driving a fully-loaded commercial flatbed truck that crashed into the back of a 2008 Mercedes sedan.

The driver of the Mercedes, 22-year-old Paul Troupe of Phoenix was killed in the crash.

Troupe's car, which was stopped for traffic congestion burst into flames. Troup'e wife, Sarah Troupe, was a passenger in that vehicle. She was seriously injured. Paul Troupe was an Omaha native according to KETV.

Troupe's car crashed into a Chevrolet pickup truck. The driver of that truck was not seriously hurt. The passenger was critically injured.

The pickup truck slammed into the back of a Hyundai sedan. The driver of that car had minor injuries.

The Hyundai hit a Toyota sedan and that driver was also injured.

The load of pavers spilled into the southbound lanes of I-17 leaving the interstate closed in both directions causing long delays for morning commuters.

Court documents stated that Knoll has been driving a truck for 20 years and has worked for the Pavestone company for ten years. Knoll said he started taking Soma earlier this year for back and shoulder pain and to help him sleep.

Investigators drew blood from Knoll and are awaiting toxicology tests. A urine sample tested positive for narcotic drugs.

RELATED: