Police: Wrong-way driver was drunk when he crashed

Police: Wrong-way driver was drunk when he crashed

Print
Email
|

by Teresa Blackman, kgw.com Staff

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 7:16 AM

PORTLAND -- A semi-truck driver who allegedly went the wrong way for several miles on Interstate 84 and Interstate 205 early Monday morning before crashing head-on into a car has been arrested, police said.

Investigators believe the semi-truck traveled at speeds up to 85 miles an hour against traffic for nearly 10 miles until it eventually crashed on the Glenn Jackson Bridge.

No one was seriously injured in the crash. The driver of the car, Katherine Emerson, 24, of Vancouver, was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center where she was treated and released.

The driver of the semi-truck, Kenneth Burgess, 49, of Medical Lake, Wash., was treated at the scene and then later arrested, police said. Burgess was charged with DUII, criminal mischief and reckless driving. His bail was set at $10,000.

Photos: Wrong-way semi-truck crashes on I-205

Police said dispatchers first started getting calls about the semi-truck just after 4 a.m.  People reported seeing the vehicle going the wrong way on I-84 east of Wood Village. Some drivers said they had to swerve to avoid the big rig.

"The sheriff's office began pursuing the truck, which continued on to the I-205 bridge northbound in the southbound lanes," said Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau.

The officers said they had their lights flashing and sirens blaring, but even that did not stop Burgess.

After the truck reached the Glenn Jackson Bridge, it crashed into the oncoming car and came to a stop on the north side of the bridge, Simpson said.  Emerson's car was totaled and a patrol car was seriously damaged by flying debris.  Police said the semi-truck driver appeared to be drunk.

Burgess was employed by TWT Refrigerated Service. His company had no comment Monday.

The crash also created a massive backup on the Clark County commute into Portland. Some drivers reported getting stuck on the bridge for as much as two hours during morning rush hour.

The truck was eventually towed away and all lanes were re-opened by 10:15 a.m.

More: Crash causes massive backup for commuters

A second wreck backed up traffic on the main detour route earlier in the morning. The left lane westbound was blocked by a crash about 6 a.m. on State Route 14 near the Columbia House Boulevard exit.

Print
Email
|