Once again, a deadly combination of heavy fog and icy roads contributed to multiple commercial motor vehicle crashes on Highway 84 east of Pendleton Sunday night, March 2nd, claiming the lives of two men.
After 16 hours of crash scene investigation by OSP troopers and collision re-constructionists from the Pendleton and La Grande offices, with the assistance of ODOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation enforcement officers, the following report was issued:
According to Lieutenant Mike Turner, on March 2, 2014 at approximately 7:30 pm, OSP troopers, ODOT and local emergency responders were dispatched to reports of numerous traffic crashes in the area of Interstate 84 near milepost 221. Several crashes occurred in reported heavy fog on icy roads, involving commercial motor vehicles.
Updated information indicates a 2005 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer driven by a male, age 38, from Portland, was westbound when the driver lost control on ice and crashed on the side of the road with the trailer partially resting on the roadway. A series of crashes involving three other commercial trucks occurred associated with the initial crash.
After the secondary collisions, another driver, age 51, from Richland, Washington, was found deceased inside the 2009 Peterbilt truck he was driving. He was pulling two empty milk trailer containers.
A second male victim, age 51, from Houston, Texas, was ejected from the 2003 Western Star truck he was operating. The flatbed trailer pulled by the driver’s truck was loaded with metal. His body was found about 3/4 mile west of the crash scene after he was dragged by another vehicle. Investigators are working with the State Medical Examiner and OSP Forensic Services Division, along with speaking to any witnesses, to corroborate what vehicle may have caused the victim to travel that distance from the scene.
An ongoing investigation looked into the possibility that an ODOT snow plow coming through the area after the collision may have accidentally pushed the victim down the road to where his body was found. An ODOT snow plow was examined for any evidence to confirm if this vehicle was involved and then released back to ODOT.
The fourth involved truck driver was identified as a male, age 36, from Tacoma, Washington. A 50-year old co-driver/passenger was also in the vehicle transporting US mail.