A catastrophic crash involving two semi-trucks and a van occurred on Interstate 5 in Oregon’s agricultural heartland on Thursday afternoon, May 18.
The devastating incident claimed the lives of seven adults and injured four, according to information provided by local authorities. All the casualties were occupants of the van and are Mexican farm workers.
An official statement released by the Oregon State Police, said that the officers arrived at the accident site, which occurred around 2:05 pm in the highway’s northbound lanes, approximately seven miles north of Albany.
The police have confirmed the fatalities of seven individuals, all adults.
As reported by the Albany Democrat-Herald, the severe collision involved a van and two semi-trucks. The driver of one of the semi-trucks, Lincoln Clayton Smith of California, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, amid myriad other charges. Smith’s truck struck the Ford Econoline van with 11 passengers and the van was then pushed into another parked truck, causing severe damage.
Bystanders shared horrifying accounts of bodies covered in plastic strewn across an adjacent field. A Life Flight helicopter was seen departing the vicinity around 2:45 pm.
To shield the public from the grisly view, local authorities draped the van wreckage with a blue tarp and placed a barrier close to one of the semi-trucks.
One eyewitness, Adrian Gonzalez, reported to a news outlet that the van appeared to be severely crushed between the two trucks, indicating a violent collision.
Paramedic teams were on site providing medical care to the injured victims. Two Life Flight helicopters were deployed to the scene to transport those requiring urgent medical treatment.
After investigations and the removal of vehicle debris, the northbound lanes of I-5 were reopened to traffic on Thursday evening.
Albany is a town located between Salem and Eugene and approximately 70 miles south of Portland.
According to data from Oregon’s Transportation Department, 2023 has so far witnessed 159 lives lost to traffic accidents in the state, a distressing figure following the 600 fatalities recorded in 2022.