Redding, CA- Treacherous road conditions in Oregon over the weekend set off a chain-reaction collision that involved 26 vehicles, mostly tractor-trailers. What is most remarkable about this accident is that no one was killed, though one of the motorists came very close.
Washington state resident Kaleb Whitby is an astoundingly lucky man. He was one of the many people caught up in the accident which occurred early Saturday morning on I-84 in Eastern Oregon near the Idaho border. Whitby, 27, was driving his Chevy Colorado in the eastbound lanes when he struck a jackknifed tractor-trailer, causing his truck to overturn.
Whitby told CNN that after he overturned, he saw another tractor-trailer barreling towards him and all he could do was close his eyes and hope for the best. Whitby was struck by the second truck and through a sequence of events his truck became wedged between the two trucks. His truck was crushed beyond recognition, but Whitby only suffered a cut to his head and managed to walk away from the accident once he was freed 30 minutes later.
A matter of a foot could have meant serious injury or death for Whitby, a fact that he realizes. “Thank God that I’m still alive,” Whitby told OregonLive.com. “Now I’ve got to go figure out why.”
Authorities believe black ice, foggy conditions and a treacherous terrain is to blame for the massive collision. It all began when one tractor-trailer hit a slippery patch of black ice and lost control near Baker City. That set of the chain-reaction accident which involved a total of 26 vehicles including nearly a dozen tractor-trailers.
A total of 12 people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. Four of the victims suffered critical but not life-threatening injuries, according to Oregon Live.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Kyle Hove told Oregon Live that he was surprised there were no fatalities and credited Good Samaritans at the scene for saving lives. Cars, semis and cargo from the trucks littered the highway, causing other smaller more minor accidents in the area. It took crews several hours to clean up the wreckage of the crash, forcing police to close the freeway for most of Saturday.
This is just one of the two accident pileups that occurred over the weekend; the other was in Pennsylvania and involved nearly 24 vehicles. Sadly, three people were killed in that accident.
This month alone there have been several massive traffic accidents involving dozens of vehicles. These accidents have led to dozens of injuries and numerous deaths. And usually it is the mistake of a single driver that sets off these collisions.
Winter in notorious for making the roads treacherous for motorists. Truck drivers should take the necessary precautions to avoid an accident under bad weather conditions. Not doing so is negligent. And when they cause a truck accident due to their recklessness or negligence, a truck accident attorney will hold a careless driver accountable for the injuries or deaths they cause.