Salem man killed in head-on crash with suspected intoxicated driver Tuesday morning

Police say an intoxicated Salem man driving in the wrong lane Tuesday morning struck another driver head-on, fatally injuring him.

The driver of an SUV was headed south on Southeast Commercial Street in the northbound lane around 6:30 a.m. when he crashed into a pickup truck headed north on the same street. The vehicles collided in the 3800 block, the Salem Police Department said in a statement.

The driver of the pickup truck, 52-year-old Jose R. Hernandez-Orozco of Salem, was taken to Salem Hospital where he later died.

The SUV driver, who police identified as Thomas E. Cesna, 38, of Salem, was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Censa remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon while in police custody. Charges of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, reckless endangering and driving under the influence of an intoxicant are pending, according to Salem police.

The northbound lanes of Commercial were closed between Ewald and Southeast Oak Hill Avenue for eight hours while police investigated the crash.

Hernandez-Orozco is the seventh person to be killed in a collision this year in Salem, police said.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.