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Fatal Traffic Crash Involving Wrong Way Driver - Interstate 5 in south Salem
11/05/2008
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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An elderly Salem-area man died Wednesday morning when the car he was driving the wrong way in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Kuebler Road crashed head-on with another vehicle. The other driver received non-life threatening injuries.
 
Preliminary investigation indicates that at about 5:39 a.m. two calls were transferred from 9-1-1 to Oregon State Police (OSP) Northern Command Center dispatch reporting a wrong way vehicle southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 north of Kuebler Road. At 5:40 a.m. another call reported a head-on crash in the northbound lanes about 1/3 mile south of Kuebler Road. No OSP troopers were on duty so personnel were called out early to respond.
 
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Derek Bischoff, on November 5, 2008 at approximately 5:40 a.m. a 1991 Toyota Camry driven by JOHN DUBNYK, age 92, from southeast Salem, was southbound near milepost 252 in the left northbound lane. A witness, a Keizer police sergeant enroute to work, was in the right hand lane and saw the wrong way driver in the left lane. The witness slowed and moved to the right shoulder, and as the vehicle passed by it crashed head-on in the left lane with a 2001 Chrysler Sebring driven by LONNIE DALE WIEGE, age 51, from southeast Salem. Both vehicles came to rest in the right northbound lane.
 
DUBNYK was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was using safety restraints.
 
WIEGE received non-life threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to Salem Hospital. He was using safety restraint and his car's airbag deployed.
 
Northbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed with a detour until approximately 8:15 a.m.
 
OSP troopers from the Salem and Albany offices are continuing the investigation. Investigators have not determined where the victim entered the wrong way onto Interstate 5. Dispatch calls related to this incident will not be released at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
ODOT, Salem Fire Department and Keizer police assisted at the scene.
 
Wrong way drivers present an obvious danger to all motorists on our highways. The most recent available crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong way drivers are involved in 1.5% of all fatal crashes nationally.
 
Wrong way drivers usually drive in the inside lane or inside shoulder, believing they are actually on a two-lane highway. Most common types of wrong way driver involved crashes are head-on or sideswipe crashes.
 
The following information and safety tips are offered related to wrong way drivers.

 
Who is the wrong way driver?
  • Intoxicated driver
  • Older drivers who easily get confused
  • Intentional drivers (example - trying to avoid traffic jams / congestion caused by crashes)
  • Inattentive drivers who mistake an off ramp for an on ramp

 
Safety Tips:
  • Watch far ahead for signs of a possible wrong way driver, looking for signs similar to pending problems or developing emergency situations such as other traffic braking or swerving to avoid something, or the obvious - headlights coming in the opposite direction.
  • Caution against driving long periods in the inside lane on freeways, especially on curves.