Driver in fatal crash faces homicide, drug charges

Driver in fatal crash faces homicide, drug charges

A California truck driver involved in a fatal crash Thursday afternoon on the Siskiyou Summit apparently was under the influence of methamphetamine when he struck and killed a fellow trucker, police said.

Oregon State Police arrested Daniel Clarence Clarey, 54, of Long Beach, Calif., late Thursday on charges of criminally negligent homicide, driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where he remained on $69,000 bail.

Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Clarey was driving north on Interstate 5 when his 1996 Freightliner, carrying bottled water, swerved into a 2005 Volvo commercial truck parked on the freeway's shoulder. The Volvo's driver, Kelly Linhart, 52, of Blodgett, was inspecting his vehicle and tried to move out of the way but was struck by Clarey, OSP reports said.

Other drivers reported seeing Clarey swerving erratically for miles before the crash happened.

In 2007, the most recent year with statistics available, 2,009 truck drivers were involved in crashes, the Oregon Department of Transportation reports.

Thirteen of those truckers had been drinking or using drugs or medication that could have impaired their driving, and 10 of them were found to be impaired. However, ODOT points out that information in the department's crash data system primarily comes from drivers involved in crashes, so alcohol and drug use is likely under-reported.

A trucker safety inspection conducted by ODOT and OSP this week at the Klamath Falls port of entry on Highway 97 found about 10 percent of trucks and drivers checked had problems. The operation checked 342 trucks between Tuesday and Thursday and found 31 vehicles with critical safety violations and 36 drivers with violations that took them out of service.

Four commercial drivers were arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, OSP reported Friday. Three were charged with possession of methamphetamine and one was charged with possession of marijuana. One driver was cited for driving with a suspended license and three drivers were found to be too fatigued to continue driving without rest.

OSP troopers based in Central Point and an interagency Serious Traffic Accident Reduction team investigated Thursday's crash. The STAR team includes representatives from OSP, Jackson County District Attorney's Office, Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Medford and Ashland police.

Oregon Department of Transportation and Ashland Towing assisted at the scene. The right lane and shoulder of northbound Interstate 5 was closed for about 41/2 hours Thursday.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail

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