Freeway wreck injures two, diverts traffic

A semi-truck crashed in a freeway construction zone just south of Medford's Barnett Road and caught fire this morning, closing southbound Interstate 5 to traffic.

Two men were injured in the wreck, although apparently not seriously.

The freeway likely will remain closed to southbound traffic at Exit 30, Medford’s north interchange, until about noon, said Gary Leaming, Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman.

Southbound freeway travelers are being diverted through Medford and back onto the freeway at Phoenix. Leaming said sources are reporting heavy traffic through Highway 99 in Medford and Phoenix, particularly at the Highway 99 connection with the freeway in Phoenix.

The wreck occurred at 5:50 a.m. as the freight truck, carrying two empty trailers, headed from Portland to Sacramento to pick up a load.

At the construction zone just south of Medford’s Barnett Road, the driver went straight instead of turning with the construction, said Leaming. The truck struck a ride-side barrier, pushing it about 20 feet.

The truck and one of the trailers caught fire and burned, Leaming said, while the back trailer flipped away from the wreckage.

The driver and one passenger got out of the truck safely and with what Leaming described as “non-threatening” injuries. Their names were not available.

Leaming said crews are on the scene to clean up fuel from the truck’s tanks. It leaked onto the road but did not travel to Bear Creek, which is about 25 yards from the scene, Leaming said.

-- Staff reports

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