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Wrong-way driver killed in crash near Canyonville

CANYONVILLE — A wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 died after slamming head-on  into a commercial truck Thursday, causing caused it to catch fire in southern Douglas County.

The dead woman's identity has not been released by Oregon State Police, pending notification of next of kin. The driver of the semi-truck, 41-year-old Jose Garcia, of Compton, Calif., was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg with a broken arm, police reported. One lane of I-5 southbound remains closed south of Canyonville, and drivers in the area should plan for delays. The Oregon Department of Transportation expects all lanes will reopen by 9 a.m.

OSP's Southern Command Center began receiving multiple calls of a wrong-way driver about 10 p.m. Callers reported a 2011 white Mazda MZ3 was driving north in southbound lanes near milepost 88, just outside Canyonville. Several drivers reported having to swerve to miss the car, with one motorist forced off the roadway to avoid impact.

The car slammed into Garcia's semi truck at milepost 96 near the freeway's center line. Fire engulfed the semi, but Garcia escaped.

Both southbound lanes were closed following the crash. Numerous agencies assisted at the scene, including OSP, the Canyonville South Umpqua Fire Department, Riddle Fire Protection District, Azalea Rural Fire District, ODOT, Myrtle Creek police and the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or

rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at