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Jun-14-2009 17:41printcomments

Truck Driver Dies in Crash on Interstate 5 at Belt Line Road Interchange (PHOTO UPDATE)

The victim was extricated by Eugene and transported by ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield where he died from his injuries

fatal crash involving commercial trucks on I-5 in Oregon near Springfield 6-14-09
Photos of fatal crash involving commercial trucks on I-5 in Oregon near Springfield courtesy: Oregon State Police

(SPRINGFIELD, Ore.) - Police say a commercial truck driver from North Carolina died this afternoon at a Springfield-area hospital after a major freeway crash that happened around 12:30 p.m.

Oregon State Police Lieutenant Mike Bloom, says the truck's driver, 66-year old George R. Kent of Bunn, North Carolina, failed to stop for slowing traffic and ran into the back of another commercial vehicle northbound on Interstate 5 at the Belt Line Road interchange.

A third commercial truck was also involved in the crash.

OSP Trooper Andy Youngblood says northbound traffic on Interstate 5 at the Belt Line Road interchange near milepost 195 was slowing due to heavy congestion when the crash happened.

"A 2001 Freightliner truck driven by 60-year old Ernest D. Whitson of Centralia, Washington had slowed to a near stop at less than 5 mph with emergency hazard lights on when a northbound truck driven by the victim failed to brake and crashed into the back of Mr. Whitson's commercial trailer."

He says the initial impact pushed Mr. Whitson's vehicle forward and into the back of a trailer pulled by another commercial truck driven by 35-year old Michael K. Schlinsog of Osseo, Wisconsin.

George Kent was extricated by Eugene and Springfield Fire Department personnel. He was transported by ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield where he died from his injuries.

Whitson and Schlonsog were both using safety restraints and received minor injuries. They were also transported by ambulance to the RiverBend medical facility for treatment, Youngblood said.

The northbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed for the investigation and removal of the involved commercial trucks and trailers. ODOT, with the assistance of Eugene Police Department, coordinated traffic detours.

OSP troopers from the Springfield Area Command office are continuing the investigation.

Editor's note: We previously indicated that the driver of the truck who died in the crash was from Texas, instead of North Carolina, and we apologize for the error.




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