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OSP crash investigation is highly complex

Photos via Oregon State Police.

PENDLETON, Oregon – Oregon State Police are still working around the clock to piece together the complicated series of crashes involving 20 vehicles on Interstate 84 westbound at milepost 223 Saturday night. OSP estimates that nine people were injured and of those, five suffered serious injuries.

Sgt. Kyle Hove says when numerous agencies respond to incidents like this and Good Samaritans also offer rides to people who needed medical attention, it is impossible to know the extent of the injuries early in the investigation. He added that when people need attention as soon as possible, OSP allows them to be transported often with only their license plate numbers recorded.

“We don’t know all their names,” he said. “We do know that when they left the scene, all of those who were injured were alive. There were no fatalities at the scene.”

Hove said getting aid to the people who needed it as quickly as possible was everyone’s mission on the scene. For example, he said a four-hour extrication was required for a person in one of the vehicles.

Agencies helping OSP at the scene included Pendleton Fire & Ambulance, Umatilla County Fire District No. 1, Life Flight, Medic 400-Athena, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Umatilla County Search and Rescue, Umatilla County Emergency Management, Umatilla Tribal Fire Department, Umatilla Tribal Police Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Hove says that all the injured people were taken to either St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton or Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington.

OSP accident investigators are working on what amounts to three separate areas of crashes that occurred, almost like a domino effect. The preliminary investigation revealed that black ice and speed were contributing factors.

There were a total of seven commercial vehicles and 13 passenger vehicles involved. ODOT closed the interstate’s westbound lanes until 8 Sunday morning. The investigation is continuing.

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