ALBANY, Ore. — Authorities were investigating one of Oregon’s deadliest crashes in recent years on Friday, May 19, a day after seven adults were killed and multiple people were seriously hurt in the multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 in the western part of the state.
Two semi-trucks and a passenger vehicle were involved in the Thursday afternoon crash near Albany in an agricultural area in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, state police said.
The names of the dead, the number of people injured and the cause of the collision have not yet been released.
The northbound lanes of I-5 were closed for hours as experts investigated but were reopened on the night of Thursday, May 18, state transportation officials said.
Bodies were covered in plastic in a nearby field, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported. Police and fire officials put a blue tarp on the wrecked van and placed a barrier near one of the trucks to block the view of the scene, according to the news outlet.
The passenger vehicle appeared to be a van in photos by the Democrat-Herald.
Witness Adrian Gonzalez told the Salem Statesman Journal that two Life Flight helicopters landed and took people away while paramedics treated people on the ground.
The van appeared to have been crushed between the trucks, he said.
“Judging by the damage, it looked like the van was sandwiched,” he said. “It got hit very hard.”
The crash is one of the deadliest in Oregon in recent years.
A head-on collision on a remote road in Harney County in eastern Oregon in August 2018 killed a family of seven, including five young children. Eight people died in total.
In December 2012, nine people died after a tour bus careened on an icy Interstate 84 and crashed through a guardrail, plunging several hundred feet down a steep embankment. The bus was carrying about 40 people when the accident occurred in an area near Pendleton called Deadman Pass.
Another crash in 1988, also near Albany on I-5, killed 7 people and injured 37 more. Two infants were among those killed in the fiery 23-vehicle pileup.
Albany lies between Salem and Eugene and is about 70 miles south of Portland. I-5 is the main north-south interstate highway on the West Coast.
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