<BR>3-truck accident closes Crooked River bridge<BR>
- Bill Sheehy
- Central Oregonian - News
>The bridge was closed for about three hours Wednesday morning after a heavily loaded truck coming down the grade lost its brakes and rammed into oncoming trafficAbsorbent material floating behind dikes placed in the Crooked River takes up the small amount of diesel fuel and motor oil the spilled from the three trucks involved in the early Wednesday morning accident.
One person was injured in a three-truck accident that closed the Crooked River Bridge on Highway 126 west of Prineville early Wednesday morning.
For the past few weeks, bridge repair crews have been working on transverse beams under the bridge. A week or so ago, morning commute traffic was held up by the work crews, backing up traffic almost to the top of the grade. At the request of County Judge Scott Cooper, ODOT agreed to continue their work at night. The orange-painted ODOT truck was in the middle of the span when the accident happened.
According to Hite, an unloaded log truck was crossing the bridge and had just gone around the ODOT truck, west bound, when it was hit by a fully loaded truck coming down the grade. The driver of the loaded semi told Oregon State Police officers that he lost his brakes and couldn't stop.
Ramming head-on into the on coming log truck just as it was leaving the bridge, the momentum of the loaded truck pushed the two rigs back into the ODOT truck.
"Luckily," Hite said, "the members of the bridge crew were off the bridge at the time, eating their lunch."
The only injury was sustained by the driver of the log truck. He was transported to Pioneer Memorial Hospital suffering from back injuries.
The bridge was closed until all the wreckage could be removed from the bridge. A small amount of diesel fuel and motor oil had leaked from the wreckage and into the river. SMAF Environmental was called in and dikes placed in the river. Early Wednesday morning, absorbent material was placed behind the dikes to extract the contaminants from the water.
No citations were issued by the State Troopers responding to the accident, although their investigation is continuing. An OSP accident reconstruction team was on the scene early Wednesday, but have not yet completed their work.