Two separate Oregon truck crashes involving three semi-trucks on the same stretch of eastbound Interstate-84 last week left one driver dead, the other two seriously injured and forced state officials to clean up a hazardous waste spill. In the process, these Baker County truck crashes highlighted the continuing danger large vehicles pose on our roads and highways.
According to The Oregonian the two semi-truck accidents took place about half an hour apart on Tuesday morning of last week. The first crash involved a rollover that resulted in the driver, a Gresham man, being taken by helicopter to a hospital in Idaho, according to the newspaper. The Oregonian reports that the 34-year-old driver “was traveling east on Interstate 84 at milepost 349 when he veered off the interstate and into the median. He drove back onto the interstate where the semi overturned and blocked both eastbound lanes.” The paper quotes state troopers saying they do not know what caused the first truck to leave the road.
The second accident occurred as traffic backed up behind the first. A truck “transporting Aluminum Oxide Powder UN3175, a hazardous material, rear-ended a truck that was already stopped in traffic behind the first accident. The containers leaked and a clean-up operation was undertaken,” according to The Oregonian. The newspaper added that between the accidents and the hazardous material spill, the effected section of the Interstate was closed for about nine hours.
As an Oregon and Washington semi-truck accident attorney I am sadly not surprised by the problems detailed here. As I have written in this space on many occasions we have too many large trucks traveling dangerous – often steep and winding – roads in the eastern areas of both Washington State and Oregon. Often too little attention is paid to safety concerns regarding drivers, cargo, the weather and the trucks themselves with terrible consequences for everyone on the road. For everyone’s sake it is important that safety rules be rigorously enforced, and that our courts remain available for people who have been involved in a semi-truck accident and are unable to get justice any other way.