One driver was injured in a fiery crash involving two semi-trucks on Interstate 5 southbound near Woodburn Tuesday afternoon.
Oregon State Police says the collision occurred at approximately 4 p.m. when a Volvo truck and semi-trailer, operated by California resident Gagandeep Singh, age 24, pulled to the shoulder of I-5 due to smoke coming from under the truck. Singh and his passenger, 38-year-old Baljit Singh, also from California, exited the truck and discovered that it was on fire.
Police say a Freightliner truck and semi-trailer, operated by 51-year-old Rex Hollopeter, from Salem, was southbound in the far right lane when it sideswiped the Volvo truck parked on the shoulder. The Freightliner caught fire and came to rest blocking all southbound lanes of the freeway. Both commercial motor vehicles ultimately burned after the crash.
Hollopeter was transported by air ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland for serious injuries. Both Singhs were outside their truck at the time of the collision and were uninjured.
Hollopeter reportedly survived with severe burns over more than 50 percent of his body. Nicknamed “Scarecrow,” he is a beloved member of the Solutions Motorcycle Club, which helps motorcycle enthusiasts in recovery from their addictions to drugs and alcohol.
A fundraiser has been set up on Facebook to help Hollopeter on his long road to recovery. Find it here.
Southbound lanes of I-5 are expected to remain closed indefinitely until Oregon Department of Transportation personnel can assess the damage to the roadway.
OSP was assisted by Woodburn Fire and medics, Aurora Fire Department, Hubbard Fire Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, Woodburn Police Department and ODOT.
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