A four-car crash tied up traffic near Talent this morning. - Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune

Two crashes happen within 45 minutes of each other near Talent

A four-car crash on Interstate 5 near Talent slowed traffic, leaving cars backed up nearly to Phoenix this morning.

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

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 the initial crash, a motorist driving his truck northbound on I-5 flipped and rolled into an I-5 sign near the original crash site. The man appeared unhurt.

OSP Senior Trooper Bill Matson said the cause of the second crash is not yet confirmed, but that police officials think distraction caused by the first crash played a contributing role.

"People going by a crash tend to forget their driving duties," Matson said. "I'm going to guess that's probably what happened.

OSP had conducting a targeted effort to enforce Oregon's "Move Over" law this 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 5 miles under the speed limit if a lane change is unsafe or impossible.

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

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

— Ryan Pfeil

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