An Oregon man is dead after a fiery crash on Interstate 5 near Sutherlin.
Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, first responders were called to the freeway overpass after it was reported that a semi trailer crashed into a white Ford pickup truck that was allegedly backing up.
Witnesses said the truck, operated by Jelacio Carrasco Vargas, 59, of Keizer, had stopped in the northbound lanes of the freeway and was beginning to back up when a northbound semi trailer, operated by Xueyou Chen, 60, of San Gabriel, California, crashed into the back of the pickup.
People who saw the crash rushed to the pickup, which came to rest on the shoulder of the highway, and pulled Carrasco Vargas and his passenger, 29-year-old Ernesto Rodriguez Vargas, out of the vehicle as it caught fire, according to police.
Carrasco Vargas died from his injuries at the scene of the crash. Rodriguez Vargas was rushed to CHI Mercy Medical Center for serious injuries before being transferred to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.
Chen was not injured in the crash.
Police said alcohol was being investigated as a possible contributing factor.
Traffic was reduced to a single lane near the off ramp near milepost 136 for about four hours while troopers from the Oregon State Police investigated the crash.
Troopers were assisted by the Sutherlin Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Fire District No. 2, the Sutherlin Fire Department, Bay Cities Ambulance and the Oregon Department of Transportation.