Drivers in Oregon know that varying terrain can make for odd weather conditions and tricky travel. Using caution is something that is always advisable, but there are times when greater caution is more necessary than others. And these past few days have proven to be one of those times.
As readers are surely aware, a portion of Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon between Baker City and Ontario has been particularly hazardous. As a result of thick fog and temperatures below freezing, officials in both Oregon and Idaho recorded serious multiple-vehicle crashes on two separate days in the past week. Authorities say the toll from the wrecks include one dead and more than a dozen people injured.
The reported case of a 27-year-old Idaho man is particularly tragic. The Idaho State Police say several vehicles struck and killed him Monday as he was exiting his own vehicle to help another motorist whose vehicle had gone out of control on slick roadways near the Idaho-Oregon border and rolled over. Five people from various vehicles were reported hospitalized in that incident.
A couple of days before that and a little further north on the freeway, 12 people were injured, two seriously, when some 26 vehicles piled up in conditions of low visibility and slick surfaces. The Oregon State Police say many of the vehicles involved were tractor-trailer trucks. Several of the trucks were carrying hazardous materials, but authorities say nothing leaked.
We regularly remind readers that accidents of any kind happen in just an instant. When they happen on the highways and big rig trucks are involved, the risks are even greater. Certainly authorities will be spending a great deal of time trying to determine exactly who may be responsible.
If negligence or recklessness is apparent, those who have suffered as a result might want to consider consulting with an attorney to make sure they understand their rights and also their possible legal vulnerabilities.