Oregon State Police said 63-year-old Kirpal Singh of Yuba City, Calif. was driving southbound in a semi-truck when he allegedly hit another semi-truck that was stopped for an earlier crash. Police said the truck driven by Singh caught fire and caused a chain reaction rear-ending which involved a Nissan Armada and a Ford Focus.
Singh was pronounced dead after suffering fatal injuries. The three other drivers involved were not injured, according to police.
The crash happened just hours after a massive crash near the Halsey-Brown exit shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday and closed the roadway through the afternoon. Officials were forced to drop the cable barrier at one point to detour vehicles that were stuck.
Hazmat and Department of Environmental crews were called in to clean up fluid on the roadway that poured out of half a dozen semi-trucks, according to Oregon Department of Transportation.
KOIN 6 News spoke to witness Bill Guest who says the gridlock kept him at a standstill for two and a half hours.
“I think in hindsight, all of us should’ve been driving slower on a foggy morning,” said Guest. “It’s a sobering thing to think about all day, to be in the middle of that and that some people are just luckier than others on certain days and we were certainly lucky today.”
Officials said heavy fog in the area may have contributed to the crash.
At around 3:45 p.m., ODOT reported another crash on I-5 which involved a jackknifed semi-truck. That crash closed the southbound lanes of I-5 at U.S. 20 in Albany for just under three hours.