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Amber Alert

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Raised dump truck bed blamed for freeway accident

A dump truck with its trailer bed in the raised position crashed into the North Fork Lewis River bridge on southbound Interstate 5, then was struck by a tractor-trailer rig early Thursday morning.

According to the Washington State Patrol, a 1996 Kenworth dump truck driven by David H. Olson, 43, of Woodland left the yard of Groat Brother’s Transportation in Woodland around 2:30 a.m. with the dump trailer’s bed upright.

The bed took down some power lines in Woodland. Olson continued, entering the southbound lane of Interstate 5 from Woodland. About a mile down the freeway, the trailer hit a metal support beam of the North Fork bridge. That caused the dump container to come off the trailer frame, blocking the right lane. Olson stopped a short distance away, also blocking the right lane.

Soon after, a 2005 Volvo tractor-trailer rig owned by Swift Transportation and driven by Timothy L. Price, 21, of Bend, Ore., collided with the dump container lying on the freeway. The dump container flew into the air, then embedded in the Swift trailer. The rig then jackknifed, blocking the center and left lanes.

Price had a bump on his head. Olson was not hurt but was cited for second-degree negligent driving. Department of Transportation officials inspected the bridge, which has overhead supports, and found damage to three metal beams. An inspection found the bridge to be structurally sound, but the damage will need to be repaired in the future.

The right lane of the freeway was closed for a short time until the rigs were removed. The center and left lanes were blocked for more than two hours but were cleared in time for the morning commute, the Washington State Patrol report said.

It was not clear if the downed power lines caused any outages in Woodland.