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Truck crash near Valley of the Rogue damages bridge

A semi-truck and trailer crashed through an Interstate 5 bridge barrier near Valley of the Rogue State Park early Wednesday morning, sending the vehicle onto an access road below, where it caught fire.

The crash happened at 2 a.m., according to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming. The semi was traveling southbound at about milepost 45 when it crashed through the barrier. The semi would have landed in the Rogue River had it left the freeway mere yards away.

The driver told Oregon State Police he may have fallen asleep, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

The vehicle, which was transporting glassware and coffee creamer, fell down onto the access road to Valley of the Rogue State Park, which runs beneath the northbound and southbound lanes of I-5. It caught fire, torching the cab and damaging the contents.

The driver, identified by Oregon State Police as 60-year-old Allen Barnett of Silverton, was able to escape. He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, where he was listed in fair condition, according to hospital public information officer Lauren Van Sickle. The Courier reported the driver had burns to his arm.

The fast lane of Interstate 5 was closed temporarily while crews made repairs to the bridge.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

Crews clean up what remains of a tractor-trailer crash at Interstate 5 Exit 45B, which serves as the east entry and exit into the rest area at Valley of the Rogue State Park. [Photo by Larry Stauth Jr.]