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Serious Injury Traffic Crash Involving Wrong Way Driver - Interstate 84 near Pendleton
03/15/2009
Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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The Umatilla Tribal Police Department is continuing the investigation into Sunday morning's injury crash involving a wrong way driver in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 near Pendleton. Oregon State Police troopers and collision reconstructionists assisted with the scene investigation. All questions should be directed to Umatilla Tribal Police Department.
 
Updated information indicates on March 15, 2009 at approximately 7:00 a.m. a 1998 Ford Mustang driven by MARIA DELGADILLO, age 28, from Texas, was westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 215 following a commercial truck. The truck encountered a wrong way 2000 Pontiac Grand Am driven by ERIC LOUIS BRONCHEAU, age 20, from Pendleton, traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes. The truck driver steered to the right onto the north shoulder to avoid the oncoming Pontiac. The Ford Mustang's driver also attempted to steer right when it saw the oncoming Pontiac but was unable to avoid a head-on collision.
 
The lone occupant of the Pontiac and four occupants of the Ford Mustang were transported to St. Anthony's Hospital in Pendleton by Umatilla Tribal Fire & Rescue and Pendleton Fire & Rescue.
 
The Ford Mustang's passengers are identified as JUAN ORTA, age 30; TACON RIOS, age 26; and, AGUA MENDOZA, age 8, all from Texas.
 
DELGADILLO is reportedly the only person still hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
 
BRONCHEAU was arrested by Umatilla Tribal Police Department and lodged in Umatilla County Jail for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
 
OSP troopers from the Pendleton Area Command office worked together with Umatilla Tribal Police Department to conduct the on-scene investigation. In addition to the fire and rescue agencies, ODOT assisted and coordinated traffic control through the area.
 
The westbound lanes were closed for part of the 4 hours officers were investigating at the scene.
 
Information and safety tips related to wrong way drivers is available on the Oregon State Police website at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/PATROL/docs/Safety_tip_wrong_way2.pdf.