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Truck accident shuts I-5 near Hilt

A semi-truck that jack-knifed on an icy stretch of Interstate 5 closed the southbound lanes from Ashland to Hilt, Calif., for several hours Tuesday morning.

It seems there's just a pile of debris, OSP senior trooper Blain Allen said. They can't even get a motorcycle through.

The California Highway Patrol said that at 8:13 a.m. Tuesday, a tractor-trailer jack-knifed on I-5 near the Hilt exit. Accidents involving at least two other cars occurred as traffic backed up. Minor injuries were reported, said CHP officer Sean Paige.

The area was foggy, and the roads were icy at the time.

It appears he lost control on the ice, Page said of the tractor-trailer driver. It was slipperier than an ice-skating rink on the roadway.

— Page said because of the icy conditions and number of vehicles on the road, police did not want to stop traffic at the Siskiyou Summit and instead closed the freeway at Exit 14 in south Ashland. The southbound lanes reopened at about 11:15 a.m., CHP said.

In Ashland, traffic flowed steadily Tuesday morning as a line of vehicles got off the freeway.

Officials from Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Ashland Police Department directed traffic on Ashland Street near the interstate off-ramp. People stopped to ask the officers what happened and when the freeway would open again.

Chuck Joyner of Oregon City parked his truck stocked with lumber on the side of the off-ramp and waited for the freeway to reopen. It was deja vu for Joyner, who was stuck in Ashland only a few weeks ago for a day and a half because of a snowstorm that shut down I-5.

Joyner, who is heading to San Diego, Calif., said he understands that long waits sometimes just come with the job.

There's no way around it, so I'll just grab a paper and relax, he said. There's nothing you can do about it.

Bill Choy is a reporter for the and the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 482-3456.