Oregon State Police reported one man suffered extensive injuries when the semi he was driving crashed into another and caught fire Wednesday night between La Grande and Pendleton.
According to state police, one semitrailer at about 7:38 p.m. slid off the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 234 and jack-knifed into the median. A second semitrailer tried to stop from hitting the first and slid into the guardrail.
The second driver got out to see if anyone was hurt in the first semi, according to state police, but he left his rig in the road. The first driver told the second to move his truck. Before he could, the third semitrailer slammed into the back of the second.
The impact caused extensive damage to the trailer of the second semi and set the third on fire. State police reported the driver of the third semi suffered extensive injuries, and an ambulance rushed him to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton. Medical staff stabilized the man, and a LifeFlight ambulance flew him to a hospital in Portland or Seattle. State police did not have that information at the time.
The Umatilla Tribal Fire Department and La Grande Rural Fire Protection District responded to extinguish the burning rig. The crash and emergency efforts closed the westbound lanes for up to nine hours to all traffic in Baker City at Exit 302 and eventually to commercial vehicles at Exit 374 in Ontario.
State police Thursday had not released the identity of the victim. The crash remains under investigation.