Seven die, truck driver arrested following freeway crash north of Linn County border
May 17, 2023
Seven people died Thursday afternoon, May 18, in a crash on northbound Interstate 5 involving two semi trucks and a van, Oregon State Police said Friday.
A truck driver who is being blamed for the crash was arrested.
According to OSP, at approximately 2:06 p.m., troopers responded to the three-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of the freeway near the Santiam Rest Area.
According to OSP, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was traveling northbound on Interstate 5 when it left the roadway on the east shoulder. The CMV struck a Ford Econoline passenger van, occupied by 11 people, and pushed the van into another parked CMV. The force of the crash caused extreme damage to the passenger van.
The operator of the parked CMV was not injured.
As a result of the crash, six people in the van were declared deceased at the scene. One victim from the van was transported by Life Flight and later declared deceased at the hospital. The other four occupants suffered various injuries and were transported via ambulance for medical care.
OSP will release the victims' names after notifications have been confirmed, it said in a statement.
The operator of the at-fault CMV, Lincoln Clayton Smith, 52, of North Highlands, Calif., was transported for medical evaluation and was later arrested and lodged at the Marion County Jail for DUII, reckless driving, seven counts of second-degree manslaughter, and three counts of third-degree assault.
This is an on-going criminal investigation and additional details regarding the crash will not be released, police said. Any future press releases, except the victim name update, will come from the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.
OSP was assisted by Jefferson Fire, Turner Fire, Lebanon Fire, Albany Fire, Life Flight, Falck Ambulance, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Willamette Valley First Responder Chaplains, and ODOT.