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I-205 commuting nightmare caused by wrong way semi-truck driver


Update: Driver arrested for DUII

by: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Kenneth Eugene BurgessThe semi-truck truck driver who snarled freeway traffic throughout the metropolitan area Monday morning has been arrested for drunk driving.

Kenneth Eugene Burgess, 49, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of DUII, two counts of criminal mischief in the second degree, and reckless driving.

Southbound traffic across the I-205 bridge was brought to a standstill Monday morning by a head-on collision caused Burgess, who was driving the wrong way and hit a car head on.

The driver of the car that Burgess crashed into — Katherine Mary Emerson, 24, of Vancouver, Wash. — was treated for non life-threatening injuries and released from a Southwest Washington hospital later in the morning, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police spokesman.

Only one lane of southbound traffic was open during the early morning commute as police investigated the accident.

According to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, deputies began receiving reports of a tractor-trailer driving the wrong way on I-84 at 4:20 a.m. on March 18. The initial reports came in from the Wood Village area saying the truck was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-84.

Deputies began pursuing the truck, which continued on to the I-205 bridge northbound in the southbound lanes. On the North side of the bridge, almost at the border with the State of Washington, the truck crashed into a southbound vehicle and stopped.

The driver of the southbound vehicle has been transported as a trauma entry to Southwest Washington Medical Center. Her injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

The driver of the tractor-trailer has been treated at the scene and has been detained by Portland police, who are investigating the crash. They believe alcohol is a factor in the crash.

By 6:00 a.m., only the far right lane of southbound the I-205 bridge is open to traffic. Traffic is expected to be affected for several hours as police and towing crews begin the clean-up effort.

One Portland Police car was damaged by crash debris and had to be towed from the scene.