Parked tractor-trailer struck in fatality crash

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | Friday, February 26, 2016

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect tthe truck was parked alongside an offramp on Interstate 5.

A tractor-trailer was parked along an Interstate 5 offramp near Harrisburg, Ore., when a recreational vehicle drove into the back of it at “freeway speeds.” There were two fatalities on Wednesday afternoon, the Oregon State Police said.

The RV’s driver, Sandra C. Bishop, and passenger, Michael Bunten, died at the scene.

Bunten’s daughter was rescued from the vehicle by Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Eli Chambers as truck driver Sergio Valente was attempting to extinguish the fire, Sgt. Alan Gilbert said.

“We are still investigating the crash,” Gilbert said. “One motorist who was passing at the time of the crash said it didn’t look like the motor home slowed down at all. It easily could have been traveling at freeway speeds.”

Valente, who wasn’t injured in the crash, was nearing the end of his federally mandated 10-hour break when the crash occurred. The Register-Guard reported that Valente parked on the shoulder after being unable to find a parking spot at a nearby rest stop.

Gilbert said there were no citations issued and that Valente did the right thing.

“He was off the travel portion of the roadway,” Gilbert said. “If you’re out of hours, then you’re out of hours. You’ve got to stop. For us, we’d like to see drivers not go past their hour limit. If they can get off the roadway safely and in a safe spot, that’s what we’d prefer.”

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