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Truck Driver Blames Bad GPS Directions for Driving on Heritage Trail

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DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa — A semi truck driver from Milwaukee faces several charges after investigators say he drove his truck on Dubuque County’s Heritage Trail. It happened June 2 between Dyersville and Farley. That’s on the western end of the 26-mile recreation trail.

The soft-crushed limestone that lines the Heritage Trail could not support the weight of a 53-foot semi.

Dubuque County Conservation Director Brian Preston said, “It’s really unusual to have any vehicles on the Heritage Trail, much less a semi.”

According to the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office, 55-year-old Gerald Valeanu of Milwaukee, Wisconsin got lost while driving along Old Hawkeye Road near Dyersville. That’s when he took a sharp turn onto the trail.

Preston said, “He got lost and relied on his navigation system ad his G.P.S. told him the Heritage Trail was the way home. But that really wasn’t the best route. “

The truck quickly sank into the soft ground and rolled onto its side, spilling his load along the trail. It took four wrecker trucks to pull the truck out.

Matt Steffensmeier lives on a farm next to the trail. He says GPS often leads drivers to his front door.

“It’s a least 4 times per week when we see cars turn around by the mailbox,” said Steffensmeier.

Still Steffensmeier says watching a semi spend several minutes trying to make that tight turn, left him dumbfounded.

“Some people just need to learn to read basic signs,” said Steffensmeier. “Plan your route before you leave.”

Valeanu faces several charges, including driving in a prohibited area. According to the Sheriff’s department Valeanu passed a field sobriety test.

TV9 was not able to obtain contact information for Valeanu.

l Comments: (563) 583-9999; katie.wiedemann@kcrg.com