Missile trucker blames a big bug for accident

BISMARCK, N.D. —A truck driver who lost control of a semitrailer carrying missile parts from North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base was distracted by a "large insect" that flew in a window and landed on the driver's back, the military said in a report released Friday.

The Air Force said the truck from the base's 91st Missile Wing, which overturned Aug. 31 on a gravel road in northwest North Dakota, was carrying rocket engine parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles but no nuclear material. The shipment also contained two 14-gallon tanks of liquid rocket fuel, but never was in danger of exploding or leaking, the military said.

The Air Force report released Friday blamed the latest accident on driver error, saying "the driver became distracted ... when a large insect flew into the driver's open window and landed on the driver's back."

The truck drifted while the driver tried to remove the insect and tipped over in a ditch, according to the report.

"The investigation doesn't list what kind of bug it was," said Andy Roake, a civilian spokesman for the Air Force at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. "I don't know if the driver really knew."