Truck Drivers Injured in Head-On Crash

Date: November 17, 2009
Location: Highway 138, Sutherlin, Oregon
Names: William Nye, Jason Marlin

Two unloaded logging trucks crashed into each other head on, November 17, 2009, around 1 PM, on Highway 138 in Sutherlin, Oregon, and Oregon State Police troopers told KPIC.com that the drivers were lucky to be alive.

“If they had both been loaded up with logs, the impact would have been much more severe and a lot less likely that the people would have survived,” said Senior Trooper Mark Moore.

The crash occurred after one of the trucks, driven by Jason Marlin, 32, of Myrtle Creek, veered into oncoming traffic in the wrong lane. Another truck driver, William Nye, 45, also of Myrtle Creek, tried to drive out of the way, onto the side ditch, but was unable to avoid the vehicle, and the two trucks crashed on the driver’s side.

Marlin was trapped in his truck. After being extricated, he was taken to a Portland hospital with serious injuries.

Oregon Department of Transportation
and towing crews spent over an hour trying to clear diesel fuel and debris from the road, during which the east- and westbound lanes of the highway were closed. Hazmat crews were called to remove hazardous fuel from the ditch and creek next to the highway.

Moore explained to KPIC.com that heavy vehicles, like loaded trucks, can cause more serious crashes than lighter ones. “One of the factors of the crash is kinetic energy, which deals with the mass of a vehicle and its speed,” said Moore. “These calculated together come up with kinetic energy. The lighter the vehicle is, the less kinetic energy it’s going to have for a given speed.” Moore added that when a truck and a car crash, it is much more severe for the car.

These sorts of accidents are terrible. Some of the examples include an October 23, 2009 crash where an SUV driver was seriously injured after hitting a semi truck. The truck driver in this crash was not injured. And on October 17, a car swerved into a truck’s path. The driver of the car was killed; the truck driver was injured, but survived. Still another example: on October 2, a car crashed into a truck, seriously injuring the car’s driver. The truck driver was unhurt.

While we are thankful every time a truck driver escapes death or serious injury in a crash, the outcome is often so much worse for the car’s driver. We ask our readers to take special care when driving near any truck or heavier vehicle.

In this case, the crash could have been much worse if either, or both, of the trucks had been loaded, and we are glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Still, one of the drivers was seriously injured. Our hearts and prayers go out to Marlin. We hope he recovers soon.

Shulman DuBois, LLC, is located in Portland, Oregon, and serves clients in all Oregon cities and counties, including: Portland, Beaverton, Multnomah County, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Tualatin, Troutdale, Sellwood, Corvallis, Salem, Eugene, and Albany.