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Hwy. 26 reopens N. of Madras after 6-car, 3-truck pileup, jet fuel spill

Hwy. 26 crash Mike Allen 1010-1
Mike Allen/KTVZ
Investigators work at scene of multi-vehicle crash on Hwy. 26 amid freezing fog, ice, low visiblity
Hwy. 26 crash JCSO 1010
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Fuel tanker, semi involved in multi-vehicle crash on Hwy. 26 N. of Madras Tuesday morning
Hwy. 26 crash JCSO 1010-2
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Several vehicles, including semi and tanker truck, were involved in crash on Hwy. 26 near Madras amid freezing fog, ice
Hwy. 26 crash JCSO 1010-3
Hwy. 26 N. of Madras was closed after freezing fog, ice, low visibility contributed to crashes

ODOT still warns of freezing fog, limited visibility

(Update: Highway 26 reopens)

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Crashes involving nine vehicles in freezing fog and ice, including a semi-truck and a jet-fuel tanker truck that caught fire, sent two people to the hospital and closed U.S. Highway 26 three miles north of Madras all day Tuesday.

The crashes were reported shortly after 8 a.m. near milepost 115, about three miles north of Madras, at Boise Drive. Follow TripCheck updates at our page.

The road finally reopened after nightfall, though ODOT still warned drivers of freezing fog and limited visibility in the area.

Oregon State Police said six cars and three truck-trailer combinations were involved in the “chain-reaction type collision due to dense fog and icy roadways.”

Two operators were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Madras, troopers said, adding that no citations have been issued.

Jefferson County Fire District officials noted less than quarter-mile visibility and slippery roads at the time of the crash.

Deputy Fire Chief Kasey Skaar said the tanker was carrying 10,000 gallons of “avgas” (aviation fuel) and the crashed tanker was leaking fuel. 

Skaar said crews were able to remove the driver as the truck began to catch fire. They also were able to knock down the fire with an extinguisher and keep it in check until more firefighters arrived.

Among other agencies called to the scene were Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies, Jefferson County EMS, Oregon State Police, Madras police, Warm Springs Fire and Safety and SMAF Environmental.

The smaller vehicles were removed from the road by mid-morning, but the wrecked semi and fuel tanker were still on the highway as the crash investigation continued and the fuel was moved to another tanker. Ira's Towing was brought in to remove the vehicles, OSP said.

Jefferson County / News / Weather

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Mike Allen

Mike Allen is a reporter, anchor and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Mike here.

Comments

38 Comments

          1. Forget the salt. Forget these chloride. Forget the cinders. Forget the studs. Move to Michigan. Drive like you have common sense or keep your sorry butt at home if you don’t know how or have a capable vehicle.

            1. It wasnt me who crashed outside madras, just numerous professional truckers instead, not sure if theyre from michigan but you are right, states in the midwest are generally able to keep the roads clear in winter, unlike oregon

      1. You don’t have a clue about the real world do you? As one who was there this morning before the accident the freezing fog was thick enough that I think the 1/4 mile visibility was an exaggeration. What would you suggest they do to keep the freezing fog off the roads???

          1. Duh – there was already so much on the road that we couldn’t keep the windshield clean enough to see through – along with the fog. I’m not convinced that part of our visibility problems were not from the road acid because it doesn’t wipe off with the wipers without lots of water or window washer fluid.

            1. Your comments continue to indicate that odot did a bad job, and now folks must suffer injuries and property loss because of it

              The good news is we can do better, most other states already do… the bad news is that first we need to acknowledge we have a problem

        1. Freezing fog was the one thing I really didn’t like. Some of the worst I have ever seen was on 84 near Pendleton, and once near tri-cities. Zero visibility and it froze the wipers to the windshield in about an 1/8th inch of ice. I really don’t miss that…

      2. freezing fog can drift in and hit any spot on the road, as can freezing rain. I’ve seen it just freeze a 20 foot patch of road, ive seen it come in and freeze the road right underneath me. there’s nothing wrong with the county or states ability to take care of our roads. the problem is no ones aware of a black ice patch until someone hits it, they get notified and send out a truck

            1. From all the interviews youve done over the years with peter murphy, i thought they would say the mag spray lasts for a few days? Even if doesnt thats not really a good excuse to let US highways go feral like we do every winter here

                1. They seem to go from one extreme to the other. Either they don’t put any down or just barely dribble it, or they hose the stuff on. Not this year so far but I’ve gone down 3rd a few times after they hosed it and there was so much of it that the car in front of me was kicking it up and it looked like it was raining on the windshield… It’s a huge mess, and a waste, and it is corrosive and attacks aluminum parts on vehicles and can destroy wiring if it isn’t cleaned off thoroughly. It’s fairly common to see that towards the end of winter because they need to get rid of it.
                  It has a short shelf life and can’t be saved for the next winter. That and if they don’t use the allocation, they don’t get as much the next winter.

                  You are right, the stuff is actually very slick and dangerous if there is too much of it on the road surface.

          1. Based on your comment it appears you have never driven in the stuff – at times the de-icer can make things worse. There is a very small temperature range that the stuff works well at and it needs to be applied before the storm buildup. Anytime the road acid is applied on top of snow or ice it actually makes it worse because it make water on top of the slick stuff.

  1. When ODOT puts gravel on the highway traffic speeds go up 15 mph. Witnessed it several times. Maybe drivers should try driving according to the conditions and if conditions are to bad to drive then get off the highway. I know truckers don’t get paid while parked so just drive and put risk to us all.

    1. It’s not that easy. If trucks stopped every time the roads were really bad,
      the gas stations would run out of gas and the stores would run out of items.
      I have close to 3 million miles driving truck, and I have driven in the worst
      weather conditions imaginable, and I can tell you truck drivers don’t enjoy
      driving in it either. Especially if a truck is hauling hazardous materials…

      As far as your comment of trucks putting risk to the car drivers, trucks put up
      with the stupidity of people in cars all day long and it gets worse in the winter,
      so maybe the skiers and everyone else that don’t really need to be on the roads should also stay home.

      1. yes – it was the little white car passing the truck at 1238 this afternoon just south of Madras on hwy 26 in the face of oncoming traffic, actually forcing the oncoming suv into the ditch to avoid a head on crash – I have it on camera…..

      2. Oh yes there are many many more stupid suv and car drivers out there that should not be driving in the best of conditions. Yes you had to drive in bad weather and you have many miles in a truck but the difference is you likely chose to drive according to the conditions and pretty much stayed safe.

      3. It really doesnt matter how many miles you’ve driven or how many miles anyone has driven in the worst of conditions. Anything can happen at anytime. Every one on the road is at risk of a wreck regardless of weather and road conditions.

  2. I cant believe the amount of ridiculous comments,SLOW DOWN!,it’s that simple.
    NO amount of that rot-stuff (deicer or salt) will make driving any better.
    Deicer is just as corrosive as salt,Im fuming for one that Oregon is using salt and deicer,I value my vehicles.

    Only thing deicer does is keeps packed ice from sticking to asphalt and rot cars,otherwise makes it hard to tell black ice from deicer.

    C.O.’s roads have been much cleaner than when I moved to Bend in 1995,but is still a problem to clear with our weather when the highs are near 35* and lows are 30* ice tends to stick around,welcome to the next few months.

    Slow down,take your time and pretend there is a rotten tomato between your shoe and pedals of the car.

    On a side note “jet fuel” sounds so volatile,,it’s nothing more than diesel/kerosene.

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