Two people injured in semi-car crash on Hwy. 97 south of Chemult; truck catches fire, road closed for 4 hours
(Update: OSP releases details; two people injured)
CHEMULT, Ore. (KTVZ) – Two Washington state residents were injured Tuesday evening when the driver of a semi-truck lost control on icy Highway 97 south of Chemult and struck their oncoming car, causing the truck to catch fire, Oregon State Police said. The crash and firefighting effort closed the highway for about four hours.
The crash was reported around 7:30 p.m. at milepost 204, a mile south of Chemult in Klamath County, ODOT Region 4 Public Information Officer Kacey Davey said.
Troopers said a Fresno, Calif., man driving a southbound semi lost control on the highway due to ice and struck a northbound Kia Sportage that came to rest on the northbound shoulder.
The Kia’s two occupants, from Richland, Washington, were taken to St. Charles Bend with what troopers described as “moderate injuries.”
Firefighters from the Chemult and Crescent fire departments were called out when the truck caught fire.
Around 9:20 p.m., Davey told NewsChannel 21 that crews were “actively fighting the fire” and “saying to expect at least two to three or more hours to get one lane open.” TripCheck indicated the highway had reopened by about 11:30 p.m., though drivers were urged to "Prepare to slow or move over for worker safety."
"There are not any good local detour options in this area," Davey told NewsChannel 21 as TripCheck cameras showed backed-up traffic Tuesday night.
"GPS devices often lead folks onto secondary or forest roads, which are not good alternatives in snowy or stormy weather," she said. "We encourage people to stay on main highways. Delaying travel or waiting out the extended delay may be the best options."
Check the latest updates on our ODOT TripCheck page.