At least seven adults are dead and several are injured in a crash on Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany Thursday afternoon, according to Oregon State Police.
The accident happened shortly after
Police say two semi-trucks and a van were involved in the crash, but the cause of the crash remains unknown.
The white Ford passenger van at the scene was badly crushed. Straw sun hats and shovels can be seen among the wreckage.
A Target semi truck at the scene had damage to its rear end, and a black semi truck with tarps covering the sides also appeared to be part of the crash scene.
A witness at the scene said it appeared the van had been crushed between the two semis from the front and back.
“Judging by the damage, it looked like the van was crushed,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “It was hit very hard.”
He described two Lifeflight Air Medical Services helicopters landing nearby and taking people from the scene while paramedics treated others at the scene.
One lane of Northbound Interstate 5 remains closed, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Traffic on the open lane remained slow.
A detour for northbound traffic was in place using exit 238 for Jefferson Highway. That detour quickly became clogged, and people detoured around the crash through Albany.
Traffic backups due to various detours were also reported on I-5 southbound, South River Road and in West Salem.
Drivers should use an alternate route or delay travel plans if possible.
According to Oregon Department of Transportation data, 159 people have died in traffic accidents in Oregon so far this year. In 2022, 600 people died in crashes in Oregon.
This story will be updated.