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Fatal Traffic Crash Involving Two Semi-Trucks on Highway 97 near MP 191
05/01/2008
Sergeant Mark Crisp
Gilchrist Patrol Office
Office (541) 433-2018
 
Secondary Contact:
Sergeant Jeff Fitzgerald
Grants Pass Worksite (Acting PIO)
Office (541) 472-9328
Pager (503) 323-3195

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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One person is dead follwoing a head-on crash involving two semi-trucks on Highway 97 milepost 191. The crash, which closed Highway 97 for approximately 7 hours, is now open to one lane traffic.
 
On April 30th, 2008, at approximately 11:49 PM, A 1996 Freightliner semi-truck and trailer, driven by ALFONSO RODRIGUEZ-SANCHEZ, Age 43, of Coalinga, CA, was southbound on (US) 97, when for an unknown reason it crossed over the center line and into the northbound lane of travel into the path of A 1989 Freightliner semi-truck and trailer, operated by THOMAS FREDRICK WILLIAMS, age 70, of Westwood, CA.
 
WILLIAMS attempted an avoiding manuever, but was unable to avoid a head-on collision. RODRIGUEZ-HERNANDEZ and WILLIAMS were both transported to St. Charles Hospital in Bend where they were listed in serious condition. A passenger in the 1996 Freightliner, identified as JOSE LUIZ SANCHEZ, age 32, of Coalinga, CA, was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
Both vehicles caught fire after the collision. Highway 97 was completely closed at this location for approximately 7 hours while Oregon State Troopers from the Gilchrest, Prineville and Madras Offices completed the investigation. Debris from the vehicles, including a large amount of tomato juice from the southbound vehicle's load, was spread out across the highway and had to be cleared from the scene. The roadway was reopened to one lane controlled traffic at approximately 5:30 AM this morning.
 
There was no ice or snow reported on the roadway at the time of the crash. The Oregon State Police were assisted on scene by ODOT, the Crescent Fire Department and Davenport Funeral Homes.