MYRTLE CREEK — A freight truck hauling large rolls of paper overturned on Interstate 5 near Milepost 108 Thursday afternoon, causing a long delay for southbound travelers.
Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Kevin Van Atta, who responded to the crash, said the truck was traveling south in the slow lane around 4 p.m. when it flipped over and crashed into the center divider.
Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Jared Castle said the single-vehicle crash closed the southbound left lane from 4 to 6 p.m. The northbound lanes were unaffected by the accident.
ODOT closed all southbound lanes at 6 p.m. to clear the wreck, Castle said. The left lane was reopened around 6:40 p.m. and both lanes were cleared about 7:15 p.m., he said.
Castle estimated traffic backed up for a mile or two. Van Atta said the line of delayed motorists may have been almost four miles long. The contents of the truck had be removed before it could be uprighted, causing further delay.
ODOT diverted motorists at Exit 108 onto Highway 99, Castle said. Drivers re-entered I-5 at Milepost 103 in Tri City.
Van Atta cited the driver, Fnu Gurdeep Singh, 24, of Tracy, Calif., on suspicion of careless driving. No secondary crashes were reported, he said.
Van Atta said crashes are not unusual in the area.
“The curves are kind of vicious. They’re kind of truck eaters. It is still a high-crash, high-hazard area,” he said.
Castle said there used to be more crashes on the Myrtle Creek curves, but better signs warning drivers to slow down have decreased the number of accidents.
ODOT cleaned up a minor fuel and oil spill after a saddle tank broke, he said.
Myrtle Creek resident Donna Johnson was driving home from Roseburg when she got caught in the mess. She said the drive usually takes her about 16 minutes, but Thursday it took an hour and 10 minutes. She took Dole Road as an alternative route, but was still caught with other drivers.
“People were very courteous. They let people in and out. But it was a long time getting home,” she said.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.