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81-year-old drives wrong way on freeway, crash kills 1

Northbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed for two hours early this morning after a four-vehicle accident near Rogue River that left one person dead.

Police say a preliminary investigation shows that 81-year-old Malcolm Henry Armstrong of Days Creek was driving south in the northbound lanes of the freeway near milepost 53 when his pickup sideswiped a pickup driven by Nicholas King, an 18-year-old from Grants Pass.

Armstrong’s truck then hit a minivan driven by Scott Wesley Kemp, 41, of Escalon, Calif., before hitting another pickup, police said.

The driver of the last pickup died. Police have not released that person’s name pending notification of family. Armstrong was seriously injured in the accident.

Police started receiving reports of the wrong-way driver at 11:37 p.m., said Oregon State Police Sgt. Jeff Fitzgerald in a release this morning. At 11:42, police said, a trooper saw the vehicles crashed in the northbound lanes near milepost 53.

Armstrong was thrown from his pickup and transported to Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass with serious injuries. Police said he had been the subject of a missing/endangered person search because of possible memory-related issues.

King and Kemp and passengers in their vehicles were not injured.

— Staff reports