Deputy under investigation after fatal I-94 semi crash

The move comes after a fiery crash near Mapleton on March 15 that involved hazardous materials and left one driver dead.

A semi hauling ethylene glycol was hit by another semi on Interstate 94 near Mapleton, North Dakota, on March 15, 2023.
Submitted photo

FARGO — Sheriff Jesse Jahner has placed one of his patrol deputies on paid administrative leave, pending the results of an internal investigation.

“The actions of the deputy, at the time of the fatal crash on Interstate 94 involving two semi tractor-trailers last week, has prompted an internal review regarding their response as it relates to the incident and policy,” the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The sheriff's office did not share any further details about the deputy's actions, and said it is not releasing the deputy's name at this time. No criminal charges are pending against the deputy, the sheriff's office said.

The fiery crash occurred March 15 near Mapleton. It involved hazardous materials and left one driver dead . The crash remains under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Yuhai Zhu, 52, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, had stopped his semi in the right westbound lane of Interstate 94 when another trucker, Randall Buxton, slammed into Zhu’s semitrailer with a 2000 Peterbilt, according to a criminal complaint. Zhu’s semitrailer was hauling ethylene glycol, or green antifreeze.


Zhu was uninjured in the collision and 72-year-old Buxton of New Westminster, British Columbia, died at the scene, authorities said.

Passing motorists reported Zhu was stopped on the interstate before the crash, according to the complaint. Law enforcement were responding to Zhu’s stopped semi when the crash happened, the complaint said.

Zhu said his semi had a problem that forced him to stop, according to the complaint. Zhu appeared March 17 in Cass County District Court on felony charges of negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

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