This Coke's For You, Grand Teton National Park!

It took roughly a day-and-a-half to get this rig back on its way after the driver lost control in Grand Teton National Park. NPS photos by Jackie Scaggs.

It might have been great advertising if the 93-ton truck hauling Coca Cola products hadn't snarled traffic on the main road through Grand Teton National Park.

Even so, the photo of the red, Coke-logo emblazoned tractor-trailer with the snow-capped Tetons as a backdrop is priceless.

In the end, it took two heavy-duty tow trucks, one from Idaho Falls, Idaho, to finally haul the semi back onto U.S. 89 roughly a day-and-a-half after it left the highway and got the bogged down blues in 2 feet of snow.

The truck was southbound on U.S. 89 when it left the road just a little past Gros Ventre Junction about 11:40 p.m. Thursday. The driver lost control after the rig's right front tire drifted into snow on the side of the road. The truck traveled down an embankment and then about 100 feet into sagebrush. The driver was uninjured, but the semi was completely stuck with its tires buried in snow up to the wheel-well cowlings.

Attempts to extricate the 93-ton vehicle from the snowpack resulted in minor disruptions to traffic and some temporary closures of Highway 89 during Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Due to the significant weight of the semi truck, conventional towing equipment proved to be inadequate to pull it back onto the road late Thursday night. Therefore, a heavy-duty tow truck from Snake River Towing Service of Idaho Falls, Idaho was summoned Friday morning, and together with a heavy-duty tow truck from Flat Creek Towing of Jackson,Wyoming, a second attempt was made on Friday afternoon to pull the tractor-trailer out of the snowbank.

That effort also was unsuccessful, so late Friday afternoon a crew from the local Coca-Cola distribution warehouse began to unload several thousand cases of Coke products to lighten its weight for a third extrication attempt.

With the soda removed, the two heavy-duty tow trucks were able to carefully, and incrementally, pull the rig up the embankment and back onto Highway 89 at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday. The semi truck was then driven to Jackson with no further delay.

There's been no word if Pepsi is planning a similar promotional event.

Comments

There is no way that truck could weigh 93 tons or 186,000 lbs. The legal limit for non-permitted loads in the US is 40 tons, or 80,000 lbs. This weight would require approximately 37,000 two litre bottles.

Good point, anonymous. Can't say where the park got that number from. I do recall an Associated Press story from about a year ago that said tractor trailers often run above the legal weight limit, but more than double the usual weight does seem just a bit excessive.