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Fatigue-Related Crash Causes Brush Fire, Power Pole Damage, Closure of Highway 20 west of Albany

July 15, 2013

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247

Photograph links valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police

Oregon State Police (OSP) cited the driver of a vehicle who reportedly fell asleep while driving, traveling off Highway 20 about a half mile west of Albany and striking a power pole. The collision led to a brush fire that was controlled by Albany Fire Department firefighters.

According to Trooper Don Rummer, on July 15, 2013 at approximately 2:00 p.m., a passenger car driven by JOSEPH R. BAGG, age 29, from Brownsville, was westbound on Highway 20 when it traveled off the highway, struck a power pole and rolled coming to rest in the roadside brush. The sheared power pole led to live wires dropping into the brush starting a fire.

Pacific Power personnel responded to shut off power. Albany Fire Department firefighters controlled and extinguished the fire.

BAGG was not injured. He was cited by OSP for Driving While Suspended, Driving Uninsured, and Careless Driving. Fatigue is a contributing factor in this crash.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Benton County Sheriff's Office, Albany Fire Department, and ODOT. The highway was closed for about one hour. Pacific Power personnel are set to return this evening to repair the damaged pole and wires.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem that leads to thousands of motor vehicle crashes each year around our country. A report sponsored by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, National Institutes of Health, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified critical aspects of driving impairment associated with sleepiness to include reaction time, vigilance, attention, and information processing. A typical sleep-related crash has the following characteristics:

* The problem occurs during late night / early morning or mid-afternoon
* The crash is likely to be serious
* A single vehicle leaves the roadway
* The crash occurs on a high-speed road
* The driver does not attempt to avoid a crash
* The driver is alone in the vehicle

The Oregon State Police and ODOT join NHTSA and traffic safety partners in providing information to help reduce the risk of being involved in a drowsy driving-related incident or crash. Some signs to help tell a driver to stop and rest include:

* Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, heavy eyelids
* Trouble remembering the last few miles driven, missing exits or signs
* Yawning repeatedly
* Drifting from lane to lane, tailgating, excessive slowness or speed
* Feeling restless and irritable

Information regarding research on drowsy driving is available on NHTSA's website at:


### www.oregon.gov/OSP ###​