A four-car crash on Interstate 5 near Talent left three cars significantly damaged and one woman taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune photo - Bob Pennell

Chain Reaction

TALENT — No one was seriously hurt Wednesday morning after two motor vehicle accidents within 40 minutes of each other on Interstate 5 near the Talent exit slowed north- and southbound traffic to a crawl.

Four cars were involved in the first crash, which slowed traffic and backed up vehicles nearly to Phoenix.

The crash happened about 8:10 a.m. when a driver braked behind a tractor-trailer and was rear-ended by following drivers in a chain reaction.

Three cars were significantly damaged and one woman was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Airbags deployed on at least one vehicle during the crash, Oregon State Police said.

Jackson County Fire District No. 5, Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation responded to the scene, which closed the southbound fast lane.

About 40 minutes after that crash, a northbound pickup flipped and rolled into an I-5 sign near the original crash site. The driver appeared unhurt and was walking around outside the vehicle moments after the crash. He was cited for careless driving.

OSP Senior Trooper Bill Matson said distraction caused by the first crash played a contributing role.

"People going by a crash tend to forget their driving duties," Matson said.

OSP had been conducting a targeted effort to enforce Oregon's "Move Over" law Wednesday morning along I-5 when the crash happened. The law states motorists driving behind or next to an emergency vehicle, roadside assistance vehicle or tow truck working on the side of the road must move over to a non-adjacent lane or slow down to a speed at least 5 mph under the speed limit if a lane change is unsafe or impossible. The law has been in effect for nine years.

Matson said OSP will reassess following the operation, which ended at about 10:30 a.m., but he said it had nothing to do with the accidents, as the troopers working on that effort were closer to the Phoenix exit.

"I don't think that was a contributing factor," Matson said.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or email

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