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Crash caused I-5 closure

A tractor-trailer hauling lumber crashed into barriers around a road construction site at the south Medford interchange on Interstate 5, spilling its load and closing the southbound lanes of the freeway for about five hours early Friday.

The truck, owned by Duran Freight, of Tecate, Mexico, was headed south at about 1 a.m. It crashed through a row of protective barrels and hit a concrete barrier, tipping onto its side. The box trailer ripped open and lumber scattered across the southbound lanes, Oregon State Police Sgt. Mark Byrd said.

About 100 gallons of diesel fuel also spilled onto the roadway, prompting concerns it could ruin the asphalt or make it slippery as the road warms and the diesel rises to the surface, said Gary Leaming, an Oregon Department of Transportation project information coordinator. Transportation officials will monitor the pavement and may have to grind off the surface and repave the roadway as the weather changes, he said.

OSP, ODOT and Medford police coordinated the cleanup and rerouting traffic onto Highway 99, Byrd said. One southbound lane reopened at about 6 a.m., and both lanes were reopened by about 8 a.m.

The truck's driver, Jose F. Tapia Martinez, of Tecate, Mexico, was uninjured in the crash. However, he was cited on a charge of careless driving, Byrd said.

A truck hit the barrier in the same place in a crash in August, causing a fire that destroyed the tractor and trailer and damaged pavement. The driver in that crash said he had fallen asleep.