PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon State Police say a commercial motor vehicle driver was charged Friday for driving under the influence after seven people died in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 Thursday afternoon.

Officials say driver Lincoln Clayton Smith, 52, was traveling northbound and went off the east shoulder of the highway, hitting a Ford Econoline van with 11 passengers inside and pushing the van into another parked vehicle.

According to police, six passengers in the van were declared dead at the scene, and one passenger died later in a local hospital. They say four other injured occupants were transported for medical care, and the driver in the parked vehicle was uninjured.

(Alex Powers/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)

Smith, from North Highlands, Calif., was arrested for driving under the influence, reckless driving, seven counts of manslaughter in the second degree and three counts of assault in the third degree.

Attorneys say Smith admitted in court to using speed the day before the crash. Investigators say they found multiple containers of inhalants inside the truck, and a container of meth on Smith at the scene.

Witnesses say they saw Smith weaving in and out of the shoulder before the crash.

Family members of those killed and the additional injured victims spoke to the judge in an emotional afternoon. Those who spoke included the daughter of a woman still awaiting surgery and a man whose late wife has left behind their 1-year-old son.

Oregon State Police troopers and firefighters work near the site of a wrecked tractor-trailer Thursday, May 18, 2023,calong Interstate 5 in Albany, Ore. Mulitple people were killed and others hurt in a crash involving multiple vehicles Thursday on Interstate 5 near Albany, Oregon, police said. (Alex Powers/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)

Many family members of the victims say they were immigrants that came to the U.S. for a better start.

“Seven of their lives were taken away,” said Iris Gomora, the daughter of an injured victim. “From one day to another, the purpose of living here to better their lives, and it was taken away.”

According to the state, Smith has a criminal history in California since the late ‘80s, including charges of burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

The judge did not set bail, and Smith’s next public appearance in Marion County Court is set for May 30.

Police have still yet to release the names of the victims in the passenger van.

Stay with KOIN 6 as we receive more information.