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Drowsy driver to blame in fatal Wisconsin accident?

Two hundred miles east of La Crosse, a car accident that claimed the life of a Wisconsin bicyclist, 62, is being blamed on a drowsy driver.

Law enforcement officials said the driver, 20, who hit the bicyclist said he "began feeling drowsy" as he drove this past Saturday at about 3:30 p.m. in Muskego in the Milwaukee metro area.

The bicyclist was apparently going east on a road when the driver of a westbound Toyota Scion crossed the road, slammed into the bicyclist and then ran into a utility pole.

Police said the driver "did not recall the moments just prior to striking the pole."

The county coroner pronounced the bicyclist dead at the scene of the crash.

His family had become alarmed when he hadn't returned home by 7:30 p.m. and contacted police. Their description of him matched the law enforcement information about the crash victim and he was identified from photos taken after the fatal accident.

At the time of the crash, the driver was on his way to work in Muskego from his home in Milwaukee.

Police said they conducted a blood alcohol test on the driver. No evidence of alcohol was detected in his system.

The AAA Foundation estimates that about one out of every fatal motor vehicle accident involves a drowsy driver.

About 10 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 45 report that they drive while drowsy once or twice per week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Drowsiness slows reaction times, causes lapses in judgment, impairs vision and slows down a person's thought processes. It's vital that we all pay attention to our internal signals telling us we're too drowsy to drive safely.

Source: Muskego Patch, "Fatal Bike Accident May Have Been a Case of Drowsy Driving," July 13, 2012

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