PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two lanes of I-5 southbound near Woodburn reopened early Wednesday after a fiery crash involving two semi-trucks that seriously injured one of the drivers.
The right lane will stay closed indefinitely due to major damage from spilled fuel and fire. It will need to dry and be repaved.
Oregon State Police said the Tuesday afternoon crash, which also impacted northbound lanes of I-5 for a time due to the fire, happened near milepost 273.
Twenty-four-year-old Gagandeep Singh of California was driving a Volvo semi-truck when he pulled over to the interstate’s shoulder after noticing smoke coming from under the truck. Singh and his passenger, 38-year-old Baljit Singh, both got out of the truck and discovered a fire.
State police said a Freightliner truck driven by 51-year-old Salem resident Rex Hollopeter was in the far right lane when it sideswiped the Volvo semi-truck, also catching fire as it came to a stop, blocking all southbound lanes.
Hollopeter was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for serious injuries, according to state police; his current condition is unknown. Both Gagandeep Singh and Baljit Singh were unhurt in the crash.
Fire crews had the blaze under control within 35 minutes, but the burned-out shells of the trucks remain on the highway, OSP said.
The southbound detour will take motorists on Oregon 99E south to rejoin I-5 at Woodburn.