Sleep-deprived Monster drink trucker mistaken for bomber

The cops say Beant Singh Gill was sleepy. Maybe he should have cracked a Monster
The cops say Beant Singh Gill was sleepy. Maybe he should have cracked a Monster

Evidently Beant Singh Gill, of British Columbia, doesn't speak much English. And he drives a semi-trailer when he hasn't had enough sleep.

Erratically, too, according to police. Which is how the 44-year-old driver and his rig came to be speeding down a rural Wisconsin highway from Tomah to west of Sparta, tailed by a posse of state troopers on Thursday.

Tire spikes eventually brought the truck to a halt. A bomb-sniffing dog hit on the rig. The driver refused to get out of the cab; when he finally did, the cops unloaded a few rounds of non-lethal bullets and he scrambled back behind the driver seat.

So the Madison bomb squad got called in; robot, guys in big green suits, the whole shebang. The road was closed down. Homes were evacuated. The back of the truck was opened up, and ... nothing. Just a semi-trailer filled with palettes of Monster energy drink.

A translator was brought in from Fort McCoy; Gill turned out to be an Indian who speaks Punjabi. They figured out he picked up his load in the Twin Cities and was headed for Canada. How he got lost in Monroe County is a bit of a mystery. But he's in jail now, charged with reckless driving and fleeing an officer.

Monroe County Sheriff Dennis Pedersen told the LaCrosse Tribune it was a long and expensive day that he's putting down to a language barrier and a driver who "seemed quite sleep-deprived."

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