PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fiery crash that took the life of a semi-truck driver and closed the northbound lanes of I-5 in Southwest Portland late Wednesday night continued to slow traffic as ODOT crews removed the damaged equipment.
The crash near SW Barbur Boulevard happened shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday. The truck slammed into the sign bridge where the truck lane merges back into the I-5 mainline, authorities said.
The truck and trailer burst into flames.
The driver was identified as 50-year-old Tony Richard Mack. He died at the scene.
Target released a statement Thursday on the death of its truck driver.
“Our thoughts go out to the driver’s family, colleagues and friends after this tragic accident. The driver was employed by one of Target’s third-party transportation providers, and we’ve been in close touch with them, the Portland Police Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Our goal is to provide whatever information we can to help with their investigation.”
Witnesses told KOIN 6 News they saw the truck driving in the left lane when it lost control and crashed.
Derk Baker said he was in his friend’s car coming home from Vancouver when he saw a Target truck veer “a little sideways, cut across the freeway and into a barrier.”
“And then this big burst of yellow — flames everywhere,” he said. “It was bad.”
For nearly 12 hours, that northbound section of I-5 was closed. The left lane re-opened around 8 a.m.
ODOT reopened all 3 lanes late Thursday afternoon.
The sign bridge was damaged and hazardous. A crane moved it to the shoulder. ODOT crews will then separate the sign bridge into 3 pieces and remove it.
More northbound lanes were reopened once the damaged sign was removed. After that, the trailer — which was empty — and the truck cab were removed.
A decision will be made later whether to replace the sign bridge.
ODOT inspectors determined there was no other damage to I-5 or its infrastructure, they said.