HUNTINGTON, OR: – A fatal truck accident Friday, February 18, on an interstate in Baker County, Oregon killed one person and injured four others. The deadly crash started when a passenger car went out of control and set off a multi vehicle collision in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 just west of the city of Huntington, OR. The truck accident area is in far eastern part of the state, about 84 miles northwest of Boise, Idaho and about 170 miles southeast of Walla Walla, Washington.
Early Friday morning 41 year old Rebecca Clark of La Fayette, Georgia was driving a 2006 Freightliner semi truck through eastern Oregon. The trailer section of the semi tractor was filled with a variety of household products. There was also a passenger riding in the tractor trailer at the time of the truck accident, an unidentified 40 year old male. The tractor trailer is reportedly registered to Cedar Creek Trucking based in Georgia.
The Oregon Department of Transportation reported that the interstate was covered with black ice when the truck accident occurred, creating dangerous road conditions.
Shortly after 5:30 a.m. Friday morning the truck driver, Ms. Clark, was traveling west on Interstate 84 in the southern tip of Baker County just outside of Huntington. A short distance ahead on the highway was a 32 year old woman driving a 2005 Ford Focus. There were four passengers in the Ford at the time of the truck accident, two adults and two children. Authorities have not released the identities of the five people in the Ford.
As the Ford was taking a curve on the intestate near mile marker 345, the driver of the car reportedly hit a patch of ice and lost traction. The Ford went into a spin across the westbound lanes of I-84. The semi driver swerved and attempted to maneuver around the car but could not, and slammed full force into the passenger vehicle. The force of the truck accident shoved the Ford into the cement barrier wall running alongside the highway.
Remarkably the semi driver, Ms. Clark, and the five people in the passenger car were not injured in the crash. The driver and four passengers reportedly all got out of the Ford Focus and were looking at the car. At that moment a westbound 1998 Pontiac Firebird driven by 37 year old Gomercindo Figueroa-Baez of Jerome, ID came up on the truck accident scene. The Pontiac went out of control on the icy interstate and crashed into the group, hitting four of the people. The fifth person, reportedly a minor male, apparently saw the Pontiac bearing down and jumped over the guardrail.
Rescue and emergency teams quickly descended on the multi vehicle truck accident site. The young girl traveling in the Ford suffered fatal injuries in the crash and died at the scene. The female driver of the Ford and a female passenger were treated and stabilized before being transported by ground ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario, OR. Another female passenger was critically injured. She was airlifted by a Life Flight medical helicopter to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, ID. The boy who jumped over the guardrail was not hurt. The driver of the Pontiac had minor injuries and was taken to St. Alphonsus in Ontario.
The driver of the semi and her passenger were not injured in the truck accident.
Oregon State Police closed down both directions of I-84 between Ontario and Baker City after the truck accident, causing major delays during the Friday morning commute. The closures backed up traffic so severely that OSP was forced to extend the shutdown to La Grande, west of Baker City, to keep motorists from getting on the interstate and adding to the traffic jam.
All lanes on I-84 were reopened shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Friday, about 5 ½ hours after the truck accident.
OSP reconstructed the deadly crash and initial reports point to the icy road conditions as the main cause of the multi vehicle collisions. No charges have been brought at this time and the truck accident remains under investigation.
For more information about Oregon trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims’ rights, contact truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert truck accident advice. Visit our Oregon truck accident lawyer page for more information about Oregon truck accidents. For a free initial consultation, talk to a truck accident attorney at 1.800.773.6770.