Truck driver cited for DUII in crash that blocked I-5 in Portland
PORTLAND, Ore. - A truck driver was cited for drunk driving early Monday morning in a semi-truck crash that shut down Interstate 5 south bound near the Rose Quarter exit in Portland, police officials said.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, officials at the scene said.
Portland Police say the semi truck had taken the ramp from westbound I-84 to northbound I-5 around 1 a.m. Monday. That's when the driver hit the center divider, taking a chunk of cement out of the Jersey barrier. The crash initially closed both the north and southbound lanes. Northbound lanes were reopened just before 4 a.m.
"It was pretty loud," Jessee Scott, who camps with other people not far from the crash site, said. "I don't really recall what time it was but when I came out there was semis lined up, there was a bus here, just everybody all lined up all the way back as far as I could see."
Scott is amazed the truck didn't hit other cars or trucks on this busy part of I-5, especially since police believe the truck's driver was drunk behind the wheel.
"He's lucky he didn't hurt anybody then," Scott said. "That's pretty intense, especially as many semis as they had backed up along here. There was quite a few."
Officers cited the driver, 44-year-old Joel Minh Hung Reynolds of Oklahoma, for driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving. Reynolds was treated for a hand injury after he was processed and released on the driving citations.
The truck is registered to a company called Diesel Zoo, which lists just one truck and one driver. Federal records show that truck has failed multiple equipment inspections during the past 7 months.
During that same time period, the truck's driver was cited for not keeping a log book and for driving while having a suspended license.
The records don't say why the driver's Commercial Driver's License was suspended.
The front of the truck was badly damaged in the crash, and oil spilled onto the roadway. A HAZMAT team was dispatched and worked to clean that up and make sure none of it got into storm drains.
The most difficult part of the clean up was dealing with the empty trailer that had high centered on median. It was so badly damaged that it took tow truck drivers at least a couple of hours to get it moving again and off the highway.
Drivers on I-5 south were being rerouted to Interstate 405 over the Fremont Bridge as a detour; crews cleared the roadway and traffic was rolling again just after 6:30 a.m.