Bad joke? Part II: Trucker charged in alleged I-29 threat

| 9/15/2003

A Foreston, MN, man has been charged in an incident in which a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 29 was shut down Sept. 11.

The incident began when a trucker whose rig was carrying explosives allegedly threatened to detonate his load after he was delayed at a weigh station near the Missouri River town of Sioux City, IA, local media outlets reported.

After the threat was made, officials checked the trucker’s paperwork and discovered he was carrying some type of explosives, according to The Associated Press. That’s when officials, as a precaution, shut down seven miles of I-29 in both directions.

Alexey Artemenko, 34, of Foreston, has been charged with making a false report in the incident, the news service reported. The charge is a felony.

Woodbury County Sheriff David Amick told KCCI TV that the threat was "not a wise move," considering it was made on the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Media outlets said the trucker later said he was just “kidding.”

Lt. Rob Hansen of the Iowa State Patrol told The AP DOT officials took the driver into custody.

KCCI said officials from the Iowa State Fire Marshal's office were headed to the location to investigate the truck and its contents. Meanwhile, as a precaution, homes near the weigh station were evacuated.

Sioux City sits along the Missouri River close to where the states of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota come together. I-29 is one of the main routes from Kansas City, MO, and Lincoln and Omaha, NE, north into South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. The road also connects several east-west routes, such as I-70, I-80 and I-90.