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Fatal Traffic Crash Involving Wrong Way Driver - Interstate 5 south of Grants Pass
07/01/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

 A Eugene-area man died Tuesday night after being struck by a wrong way driver on Interstate 5 near Grants Pass.  A report of the wrong way driver quickly turned into a four vehicle crash that left one man dead and the wrong way driver seriously injured. The crash, which occurred in the northbound lanes south of Grants Pass, resulted in the freeway being closed for approximately 2 hours.  Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation.

According to OSP Sergeant Jeff Fitzgerald, on June 30, 2009 at approximately 11:37 p.m. the OSP Southern Command Center (SCC) dispatch started receiving reports of a wrong way driver on Interstate 5 near milepost 58 southbound in the northbound lanes. One of the citizen reports stated the vehicle pulled over near milepost 54 before continuing southbound again.  OSP troopers from the Grants Pass worksite responded in an attempt to locate the wrong way vehicle.

At approximately 11:42 p.m. a trooper observed vehicles crashed in the northbound lanes near milepost 53. Upon arriving at the scene troopers found the wrong way vehicle and three other vehicles that had been involved in a crash.

The preliminary investigation indicates a gray 1989 Toyota 4x4 pick-up driven by MALCOLM HENRY ARMSTRONG, age 81, from Days Creek, was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes near milepost 53 when it sideswiped a 2002 Dodge pickup driven by NICHOLAS KING, age 18, from Grants Pass. The Toyota 4x4 pickup then continued and collided with a 2007 Kia Sedona minivan operated by SCOTT WESLEY KEMP, age 41, from Escalon, California, before crashing head-on into a 1991 Toyota two-wheel drive pickup.

The driver of the 1991 Toyota pickup identified as MICHAEL BRENT POLICE, age 28, from Eugene, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

ARMSTRONG was ejected from his pickup and transported to Three Rivers Community Hospital with serious injuries.  Troopers learned ARMSTRONG was the subject of an attempt to locate as a missing/endangered person due to some possible memory-related problems issued out of Jackson County.

KING and KEMP were uninjured.

A passenger in KING'S vehicle identified as BRETT L. LEWIS, age 17, from Grants Pass, was also uninjured.

Three other occupants in the Kia identified as JOAN BOGNOT KEMP, age 41; KAYLA AMAYA KEMP, age 7; and, MIYA CHIO KEMP, age 9, all from Escalon, were uninjured.

Safety restraint use information is not available at this time.

The crash caused a closure of the northbound lanes for over 2 hours while personnel from the Oregon State Police Grants Pass and Central Point offices, ODOT, Rural Metro Fire Department, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Rogue River Fire Department, AMR, Caveman Towing, Crystal Peak Towing, Bulldog Towing and Fairgrounds Towing worked on the scene.