GARDEN CITY (ABC4 News)- The driver of the semi-truck that crashed through a Garden City sports store earlier this month was not familiar with driving in a mountainous environment, investigators said on Friday.
On Oct. 10, Ahmed M. Abdelgader, 31, of Omaha, Nebraska, was passing through Cache Valley toward Garden City when he blew through the intersection of Hwy 89 and Hwy 30 in Garden City causing the semi to jackknife and overturn eventually slamming into the building.
The store, Pugstones Sporting, was completely destroyed. Abdelgader later died from his injuries. His passenger is still at Mckay Dee Hospital in serious condition, officials said.
Several witnesses who had either been passed by the semi or had followed the semi said he was driving erratically. Troopers say the witnesses told them the semi was driving into oncoming traffic, driving across multiple lanes, and swerving into motorists as the semi tried to pass. They also said there was smoke coming from the trailer wheels as the semi came down the canyon.
After performing a safety inspection, investigators found because Abdelgader was not familiar with driving in a mountainous environment, he was driving in a way that causes his brakes to overheat.
“Those brakes failed to operate properly as he descended the hill and attempted to stop at the intersection, thus causing the vehicle to slam into the building,” a press release said.