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Semi driver in Diet Coke spill had been put out of service

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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- The driver of a semi that rolled and spilled its load of Diet Coke bottles on Interstate 94 near Alexandria early Wednesday had been put out of service at the I-94 weigh station in Moorhead about six hours before the crash, the Minnesota State Patrol said.

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The crash was reported about 3:53 a.m., forcing the shutdown of eastbound I-94 for about five hours.

Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said the driver of the semi, Shane Bembenek, 33, of Mosinee, Wis., fell asleep at the wheel and overturned the truck, then fled with a passenger on foot. Authorities found the men a short while later near a rest area about a mile away, he said.

Bembenek and the passenger, identified as Kenneth Sherman, 35, were taken to the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria and treated for minor injuries.

Grabow said Bembenek and his rig had been put out of service at the Red River Weigh Station east of Moorhead about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday because Bembenek had a false log book and was operating a commercial motor vehicle while disqualified.

Bembenek was cited for failure to use due care, driving after out-of-service order, driving after being disqualified, log book not current, false log book and no seat belt.

Sherman was arrested on a warrant out of Wisconsin for cocaine possession, Grabow said.

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