'It's the law of physics'

Semitrailer topples on Medford interchange; driver unhurt
Twedell’s Towing and Recovery employees prepare to up-right a semitrailer from the center barrier of the southbound on-ramp at the north Medford interchange of Interstate 5 on Sunday.

A semitrailer tipped over onto a concrete guardrail at the southbound on-ramp at the north Medford interchange of Interstate 5 Sunday afternoon.

"It was just going too fast," said Trooper Kirk Freeman of the Oregon State Police. "It's the law of physics."

The driver, whose name wasn't released, was uninjured and was wearing a seat belt, Freeman said.

The driver waited on scene until the truck was righted to retrieve personal possessions from the cab.

The accident occurred just after 2 p.m., when the driver turned right from the westbound lanes of Crater Lake Highway onto the on-ramp when the semitrailer tipped over, coming to rest against a concrete guardrail.

The trailer was loaded with medium density fiberboard.

The southbound on-ramp onto the freeway was blocked until after 6 p.m. Sunday as Twedell's Towing and Recovery tried to right the rig.

OSP troopers also blocked one lane on the southbound off-ramp where the truck tipped over the guardrail.

Twedell owner Edrel Jaime said it was a difficult maneuver righting the truck.

"It's a complicated mathematics equation to transfer the weight on the tow truck without breaking anything," he said. "We were able to sit it down nice and gentle."

Jaime said the on-ramp was opened a little after 6 p.m., which falls in line with a goal of reopening a lane within about four hours of an accident.

He said Twedell and the Oregon Department of Transportation worked together on the lane closure. On Wednesday, ODOT and Twedell will be meeting to discuss creating a quick response team to deal with clearing accidents to minimize the time a lane is closed.

"This was kind of a little test to see how well we work with ODOT, Jaime said. "We worked hand in hand with ODOT to get it cleared."

He said the longer a lane is closed the higher the risk of a secondary accident.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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