Oregon, US Traffic Accident Kills 7, Truck Driver In Custody

May 20, 2023

Oregon State Police reported Friday that the driver of a semi-truck that struck a passenger van on I-5 in western Oregon, killing seven people, has been arrested.


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According to police, Lincoln Clayton Smith, 52, of North Highlands, California, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, involuntary manslaughter, and assault. He was being held at the Marion County Jail.

Authorities said there were eleven people in the van at the time of the crash Thursday afternoon, involving two semi-trucks and the van.

Seven people died, six adults, at the scene and the seventh victim was airlifted to a Salem area hospital and died there. The other four people in the van were injured and taken to hospital, while the driver of the semitrailer was not injured.

The police said that the truck drifted out of the northbound lanes of I-5 and struck the van as it was parked on the side of the road. The van was then pushed into the back of another truck parked in front of it.

The northbound lanes of I-5 remained closed for hours while experts investigated, but reopened Thursday night, state transportation officials said.

The crash is one of the deadliest in recent years in Oregon. A head-on collision on a remote highway in Harney County in eastern Oregon in August 2018 killed a family of seven, including five young children. Eight people died in total.

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