On Wednesday September 24, 2014, a tragic multi-car collision occurred during a rainy morning commute on Interstate 5. The crash occurred at 7:50 a.m. near the I-5 exit to Portland Road NE in Salem when a northbound 2005 Ford Ranger crashed into the left side of a tanker trailer and then crossed the raised grass center median into the southbound lanes of I-5. The 2005 Ford Ranger then crashed head-on with a 1993 Nissan Sentra which was traveling southbound.
The 1993 Nissan Sentra was being driven by Dr. Steven Fritz, a psychiatrist at the Oregon State Hospital and husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Co-worker Cary Marie Fairchild was a passenger in Dr. Fritz’s vehicle. Dr. Fritz and Ms. Fairchild were commuting from Portland on their way to work at the Oregon State Hospital. Dr. Fritz was tragically killed in the collision and Ms. Fairchild was critically injured and transported by ambulance to Salem Hospital. At least two other southbound vehicles were involved in the collision and several of their occupants were also transported via ambulance to Salem Hospital.
Following the collision, officials closed down all southbound lanes of traffic on I-5. A single lane of southbound travel was reopened by 9:00 a.m., but I-5 did not fully reopen until after 11:00 a.m. For several years the Oregon Department of Transportation has been considering installing cable barriers between the southbound and northbound traffic along the stretch of I-5 through Salem in order to prevent such head-on collisions. ODOT hopes to have the project ready to begin construction by next summer.
This was an extremely tragic set of events that has certainly devastated the family and friends of those who were involved, and which has greatly impacted many other lives in the Willamette Valley as well. If you, or a loved one, have been involved in such a catastrophic collision it is important that you consult with an attorney who can protect your rights in your time of need. The attorneys at Adams, Hill & Hess are dedicated to protecting injured people and their families and will walk beside you through some of life’s most difficult times.
This story originally appeared on KPTV and in the Statesman Journal and can be found here: