CANYONVILLE — A 43-year-old Riddle man died Saturday afternoon along Interstate 5 after he was struck by a semi-trailer while trying to change a flat tire, according to the Oregon State Police.
OSP Sgt. Matt Bowersox's investigation found that at about 4:30 p.m., Wes Roy Woods pulled over to repair a flat tire at milepost 102, about two miles north of Canyonville.
His car was parked about three feet from the fog line, and the flat was on the driver's side. Bowersox said there was additional space for the car so that it could have been parked farther away from the fog line.
Woods knelt down to change the tire with his feet across the fog line, Bowersox said. The emergency flashers also were turned on.
A semi-trailer driven by Gurmail S. Dhillon, 31, of Surry, British Columbia, was heading northbound, following another commercial truck and trailer. When Dhillon's saw Woods kneeling down, he braked and tried moving into the left lane.
The semi-trailer's rear tires ran over the fog line and over Woods' legs, Bowersox said.
Two female passengers in the car, ages 20 and 19, looked after Woods until emergency crews arrived, Bowersox said. The victim was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg where he died rom injuries about an hour after he was struck, Bowersox said.
The OSP was assisted at the scene by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Canyonville Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
The OSP has a number of suggestions for motorists confronted with changing a flat on the side of a highway:
- Don't stop in traffic.
- Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.
- Change a tire along the side of a highway only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger. Even if you know how to change a tire, have the right equipment, and can do it safely without being near traffic, it still may be best to get a professional to help.
- Turn emergency flashers on and, if available, place reflective triangles or a flare behind your vehicle.
- Park the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if you need to proceed at a slow speed to a safer location such as a nearby exit or wide area along the shoulder.
- If you can't safely change your tire or need help for a mechanical breakdown, call for roadside assistance response or contact an OSP dispatch center.