1 Truck Driver Killed, 2 Injured In I-84 Crashby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/16/2016
One truck driver is dead and two are seriously injured after two separate crashes involving all three semi-trucks occurred on Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon on Tuesday.
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While the crashes are still under investigation, Oregon State Police say that the first incident happened at about 11:25 a.m. and the second happened only 30 minutes later, at approximately11:55 a.m. Police are still unsure of what caused the first semi-truck to veer off the road, but the truck driver had been traveling east on Interstate 84 and veered into the median. He then drove back onto the interstate, where his semi overturned and blocked both eastbound lanes. When police arrived at the scene about five minutes after the incident occurred, the semi was already on its side and blocking the eastbound lanes of I-84 near milepost 349. It was also causing traffic to back up for miles behind it.
As police were responding to the initial crash, their job became far worse when a second crash occurred just half an hour later. A semi truck hauling hazardous materials crashed into the back of another semi that had already stopped for the first crash near milepost 348. According to police, the approaching semi was traveling at highway speeds when it crashed into the stopped truck ahead, making the impact that much worse. Tragically the driver of the moving truck, Milton Vaughn, 62, of Altoona, Kansas, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi he hit, 33-year-old Abraham Garza Tanguma of Texas, was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and the driver of the first overturned semi-truck, 34-year-old Ivan Berezin of Gresham, was airlifted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
Officials say that Vaughn had been hauling hazardous materials (aluminum oxide powder) and the impact caused the materials to begin leaking from their containers. Hazmat teams were called in to assist with the cleanup. Eastbound Interstate 84 was closed in the area for about nine hours and the westbound interstate was closed in the area for about four hours.