A semitruck driver under the influence of multiple drugs smashed into a van carrying 11 people on Interstate 5 Thursday afternoon, police said.
The force of the collision killed six people at the scene. Another passenger died after being flown to a hospital, and the other four were injured and transported for medical care, according to a Friday afternoon news release from Oregon State Police.
Police said the truck was traveling north on I-5 near milepost 241, just south of Salem, when it left the roadway on the east shoulder, striking a Ford Econoline van and pushing it into another parked truck.
“The force of the crash caused extreme damage to the passenger van,” police said. The driver of the parked truck was not injured.
The driver of the truck at fault, Lincoln C. Smith, 52, of North Highlands, California, was transported for medical care and later arrested.
Prosecutors charged Smith on Friday in Marion County Circuit Court with seven counts of second-degree manslaughter, three counts of third-degree assault, reckless driving and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The charges allege Smith drove “while under the influence of a combination of a controlled substance and an inhalant.”
State police responded to the crash around 2:05 p.m. Thursday. The collision resulted in the northbound lanes being closed for several hours, causing substantial traffic delays.
Police said they would release the names of victims after notifications.
Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.
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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.