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Witness Describes Fiery Semi Crash

All northbound I-5 lanes are back open after a fiery crash that closed down the interstate for seven hours. NewsWatch 12's Eliana Sheriff explains why it shut down for so long.

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 11:16 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 11:22 PM

HUGO, Ore.--An hour before the massive 9-vehicle pileup, a different accident happened, near milepost 75.
Joanie Curtis says she was headed to sunny valley and saw signage to slow down for that accident ahead.

Joanie Curtis says, "I noticed there was an orange sign that said there was a car wreck, and so I started slowing down. and pretty soon this truck was about four car lengths behind me, he crashed into another car, and his whole truck just exploded and all I could see in the rear view mirror is fire, 6 feet tall."

Then she says, a domino effect happened.

Joanie Curtis says, "Then all the other cars coming around that curve, one after another car was hitting each other, and there were people almost driving up the mountain, just so they wouldn't get hit."

One of the engineers in the first engine on scene says they were assigned to put out that semi-truck fire which was challenging, taking almost an hour to extinguish.

Mitch Kuntz says, "There were multiple vehicles that came from a scrap yard, stacked on the tractor trailer, probably five or six involved along with the cab itself."

The crash sent five people to the hospital including two children, everyone survived.

But the interstate had to be shut down for hours due to heavy surface damage leaving drivers trying to head north stranded.

Elizabeth Murray says, "We kept inching closer, and I thought oh, they're going to open it at any minute, but then we were directed off to the side."

ODOT directed traffic off I-5 north- and told people to head south to Grants Pass.

Many people instead decided to wait.

Oberon says, "Traffic you just kind of get out with your buds, toss a ball a couple times, you drive, get out again and toss."

Elizabeth Murray says, "It's been a really long time since I've had time to read, I have some books in the car and I am catching up on my reading, I am trying to be zen about it, we all have things we have to wait for, people wait 4 hours in an airport and don't think anything of it when a flight is rescheduled."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 391099

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60298839
Washington41981395
Marion39886506
Clackamas32773378
Lane30113355
Jackson24880360
Deschutes23557185
Umatilla15126180
Linn14637179
Douglas13375291
Josephine10148244
Yamhill9762143
Klamath9053146
Polk8212100
Benton609738
Malheur592487
Coos5664106
Columbia430455
Jefferson420266
Lincoln362152
Union338755
Crook334056
Wasco316146
Clatsop261835
Baker219833
Tillamook216645
Hood River213737
Morrow197525
Curry191939
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105416
Wallowa75713
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 5083462

Reported Deaths: 74473
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152713227166
San Diego4069274335
Riverside3876785358
San Bernardino3745435962
Orange3343985725
Sacramento1683542443
Kern1576621804
Fresno1567952254
Santa Clara1520891925
Alameda1251761504
San Joaquin1075591834
Ventura1040031190
Contra Costa1037721046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare860871096
San Francisco56909669
San Mateo56320629
Monterey52488626
Solano47671357
Santa Barbara47293549
Merced45053667
Sonoma43168412
Placer42141470
Imperial38477773
Kings35206363
San Luis Obispo31476359
Madera26194311
Shasta26081451
Butte25455314
Santa Cruz22248224
Yolo21558257
Marin18465249
El Dorado18301166
Sutter14571186
Napa13420104
Yuba1076089
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10158119
Nevada10019105
Mendocino857197
Lassen796756
San Benito781578
Tuolumne773090
Lake7043110
Amador577366
Siskiyou474755
Glenn457436
Calaveras441588
Del Norte375542
Colusa325220
Inyo256646
Plumas19367
Mono18784
Mariposa160018
Trinity99717
Modoc7655
Unassigned3220
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
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