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Fatal Traffic Crash in Highway Maintenance Zone - Interstate 84 west of Cascade Locks
05/11/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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A Gresham-area man died Monday afternoon when the pickup he was driving collided into the rear of a stopped ODOT highway maintenance truck in a work zone on Interstate 84 west of Cascade Locks. This was the second traffic crash involving vehicles approaching areas where ODOT personnel were conducting maintenance or work zone activity, and is a reminder of the need to be attentive at all times while driving. The other was a non-injury crash east of The Dalles on Interstate 84.
 
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Recruit Trooper Alex Monarch, on May 11, 2009 at approximately 3:12 p.m. an ODOT maintenance truck with a crash absorber box and illuminated arrow sign was positioned stationary in the left eastbound lane of Interstate 84 near milepost 35. The ODOT work zone was well-marked for approximately two miles prior to the location where traffic was to merge to the right lane.
 
A 1997 Chevrolet Astro van driven by DORIN TAPU, age 57, from Gresham, was following a co-worker's vehicle eastbound in the left lane. The co-worker merged to the right lane as directed by signs and arrows on the ODOT truck, but TAPU failed to merge right and crashed into the back of the ODOT crash absorber box. After impact the pickup glanced to the right and collided with a guardrail.
 
TAPU was reportedly not using safety restraints and died at the scene. Cascade Locks Fire Department personnel responded to provide initial medical treatment before he died.
 
The ODOT truck's operator, BRIAN BOWLBY, age 45, assigned at the Cascade Locks ODOT office, was not injured.
 
OSP troopers from the Portland Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, ODOT, Multnomah County medical examiner and victim's assistance volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program assisted at the scene.
 
The right eastbound lane was closed during the investigation until about 6:00 p.m.
 
In an ODOT news release and safety event earlier this month, Oregonians were asked to remember there will of record levels of highway and bridge work as we approach the time of year when we are used to seeing orange signs, cones and barrels pop up along Oregon's roads.

 
Governor Kulongoski has proclaimed May as Transportation Safety month. Along with ODOT and OSP, Governor Kulongoski encourages Oregonians to do their part in keeping Oregon's roadways safe.

 
An average of 465 work zone crashes occurs each year. The majority of people injured or killed in these crashes are drivers, passengers or pedestrians, not workers. The single biggest factor in crashes is driver inattention; that's why orange cones, variable message signs and other tools are used to alert motorists. The other major contributing factor is speed, which is why work zones require lower speed limits.