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Driver Facing Charges After Wrong Way Driver-Involved Injury Traffic Crash - Interstate 84 east of Hood River

September 7, 2013

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

Photograph links valid at least 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police

A 78-year old White Salmon, Washington man is facing several charges after being involved in an alcohol-involved wrong way head-on traffic crash in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 betwee n Hood River and Mosier Friday evening. Three people were injured in the crash that closed the westbound lanes for over an hour.

On September 6, 2013 at approximately 8:33 p.m., OSP troopers and Hood River police officers responded to a report of a wrong way vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 64 in Hood River. Shortly after the report, other calls were received of a head-on crash involving a wrong way driver westbound near milepost 67.

Emergency responders from several agencies went to the scene and officers from Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Hood River County Sheriff's Office, and OSP closed the westbound lanes at Mosier.

According to Trooper Brent Ocheskey, the investigation indicates a 2004 Buick four-door driven by LEONARD L. GILBERT, age 78, from White Salmon, Washington, was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes from the Hood River area. As the Buick approached milepost 67 in the left westbound lane, a 2014 Ford Escape driven by EMILY SMITH, age 28, from Spokane, Washington, swerved to the right to avoid the oncoming Buick. The Buick struck the left rear corner of the Ford Escape and continued for a short distance where it collided head-on with a 1998 Toyota Camry occupied by two people.

GILBERT was transported by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center with serious, non-life threatening injuries.

The Toyota's two occupants were transported by ambulance to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. They were identified as driver CHELSEA D. ZIEGLER, age 21, and passenger SAMUEL K. LOWE, age 21, both from Camas, Washington.

SMITH was not injured.

All were wearing safety restraints for which police, medical and fire responders credit with preventing more serious injury.

GILBERT was cited at the hospital by OSP for DUII, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person (3 counts), Assault in the Third Degree (2 counts), and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver Involved in a Property Damage Accident (first collision with Ford Escape).

While at the scene investigating this incident, a commercial truck driver notified OSP troopers of a car weaving in and out of backed up traffic and passing on the freeway shoulder. A trooper spotted the vehicle and when he contacted its two occupants the female passenger initially provided a false name. She was later identified as YVETTE SPEEDIS, age 43, from Wishram, Washington, and was determined to be wanted on two outstanding arrest warrants out of Wasco County for Failure to Appear. SPEEDIS was arrested and lodged in the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR).

OSP was assisted at the scene by Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Hood River County Sheriff's Office, Hood River Police Department, ODOT, Hood River Fire & EMS, and Skyline EMS.


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