NEW INFORMATION: Misdemeanor charge filed against driver in semi crash

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A man accused of driving nearly 80 miles in a stolen semi after crashing another rig told investigators he had panicked and left because he knew he was in trouble.

Prosecutors filed a criminal charge of Operating a Vehicle Without the Owner's Consent against John Fuller, 46, of Carteret, NJ on Friday. Fuller is in the Eau Claire County Jail. A recorded message at the jail says Fuller's bond was set at $500 cash.

A criminal complaint says Fuller told investigators that he had dozed off before the crash, then went down an embankment and blacked out. It goes on to say that he said that bright lights from oncoming traffic had made it tough to see. He found another semi, which was unlocked with the keys in it, then drove to Tomah, and parked it at Walmart. On Wednesday morning, an employee at Cummins NPower on Jopke Road south of Eau Claire reported the semi stolen, and said that it had been "inadvertently left unlocked overnight with the keys in the ignition."

The Wisconsin State Patrol says Fuller was driving a semi west on I-94 Tuesday night. It left the road, went into the median ditch, then went down the embankment, and slammed into a concrete retaining wall on State Highway 37. Fuller ended up with minor injuries. A police officer found him at a Kwik Trip in Tomah.


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