Truck driver escapes fiery I-205 crash
- Jim Hart
- West Linn Tidings - News
A sleepy truck driver veers off the highway and crashes into trees in the center median
A Northeast Portland truck driver will likely think twice before he passes another rest stop in the middle of the night.
In the darkness, the driver - Jeffrey D. Hartung, 43 - nodded just long enough to veer off northbound I-205 while traveling at highway speed early Monday morning.
Hartung was unable to pull the tractor-trailer rig back onto the roadway, and the large vehicle, filled with baked goods, slid aimlessly across the grassy median and slammed head-on into two cedar trees, according to Oregon State Police Senior Trooper and investigating officer Mark Kingma.
Immediately, the cab burst into flames. Hartung, although injured as a result of the crash, managed to get out of his seat belt and scramble out of the cab, sustaining some second and third-degree burns.
A couple of passersby stopped to see if any assistance was needed. One of the Good Samaritans was Leo Tackett IV, 32, Milwaukie, who was on his way to work. Tackett heard Hartung's cries for help, and found Hartung lying on the ground near the flaming cab.
Tackett pulled Hartung to safety away from the burning truck before Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue personnel arrived to offer medical assistance and put out the fire, which required three engines and a water tender to extinguish the fiery cab and nearby trees.
Hartung was stabilized and transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and burns. He also was cited for careless driving.
The incident resulted in the closure of one northbound lane of I-205 for several hours. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Police also were called to the scene.