Trucker lucky to walk away from I-5 crash
SUNNY VALLEY — If it had been a plane crash, it would be declared a good landing. But it wasn't a plane, and it wasn't a good landing.
The driver of a big rig hauling plywood walked away — up a 450-foot embankment — after crashing Tuesday through 80 feet of steel guardrail and careening down a steep hillside off Interstate 5 near the summit of Mount Sexton.
The truck driver, Maceo Boston of A&M Transport in Glendale, was transported from the scene to a local hospital with numerous cuts and scrapes to his face, neck and legs.
Boston was cited by Oregon State Police for failure to stay within a lane.
As Boston, 45, lay on an ambulance stretcher, shards of glass visibly wedged in wounds on his legs, he told Joe Moody, a safety official with A&M Transport, the crash occurred when he "saw something in the road."
OSP Senior Trooper Scott Holsworth said Boston "rode (the truck) all the way to the bottom" of the embankment, where the cab wedged snugly between two trees and the trailer landed on its side.
A nurse, who didn't want to be identified, was driving past and stopped to help shortly after the crash.
She rushed down the hillside to assist the man out of the truck, witnesses said.
Boston was already up the hill when Rural/Metro Fire Department arrived on the scene.
Shawn Stephens, transportation maintenance manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the truck was traveling south up a hill when the crash occurred shortly before 1 p.m. The crash site is about 12 miles north of Grants Pass.
"He's a very lucky man," said Stephens, who called the crash one of the more difficult recoveries he has seen, as the embankment is steep and there is no other access.
Pulling the big rig out of the ravine is expected to take a few days, as the plywood will need to be manually unloaded and carried up the hill first, Stephens said.
In addition, about 180 gallons of diesel spilled near the wreckage toward Rat Creek. At the request of A&M Transport, a hazmat team was dispatched to handle the spill.
The foreman of a road crew installing a new guardrail on the northbound side of the freeway near the crash site said this is the third time his crews have had to repair that section of guard rail in recent months.
Brian Bowman of Gage It Construction thought this was perhaps the worst damage he's seen. Two of the other incidents were cars crashing into the guardrail.
"Cars tend to not be able to do this much damage," he said. "With 70,000 pounds of vehicle, it shears the posts and steel."