According to court documents, the semi-truck driver involved in the incident on Interstate 5 in Oregon earlier this month that killed seven farmworkers has been indicted on charges of manslaughter.
California truck driver Lincoln Smith, 52, was charged with 12 offenses on Tuesday in Marion County Court, including seven counts of homicide, reckless driving, and DUI.
Tiffany Humphrey, representing him in court, declined to make any statements on the pending litigation. The office of the District Attorney in Marion County, which brought the allegations against Smith, has stated that it will have no more comment until the matter has been resolved.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office website indicated that Smith was being held without bond at the county jail.
Near Albany, in the agricultural region of the Willamette Valley in western Oregon, seven people were killed, and four more were injured on May 18 when Smith’s semi-truck careened off Interstate 5 and into their parked van.
According to the state’s farmworkers union, the eleven passengers in the van were harvest workers returning home. PCUN, an Oregon union with headquarters in Woodburn, has created an online fundraising that has brought in over $70,000 to give to victims’ families.
According to the indictment, Smith was behind the wheel while under the influence of a controlled narcotic and an inhalant.
According to the Salem Statesman Journal, a district attorney testified during his arraignment on May 19 that he had refused a field sobriety test and could not concentrate or answer simple questions.
According to the article, the prosecutor also claimed that Smith admitted to using speed the day before the accident and had methamphetamine. The report said eyewitnesses saw the truck swerving all over the road just before the crash.
The deceased has been named as 31-year-old Eduardo Lopez, 36-year-old Alejandro Jimenez Hernandez, 30-year-old Josue Garcia Garcia, 30-year-old Luis Enrique Gomez Reyes, 58-year-old Javier Suarez, 39-year-old Alejandra Espinoza Carpio, and 37-year-old Juan Carlos Leyva Carrillo by Oregon State Police.
Maria Flores Martinez, 60, Hector Galindo, 45, and Jose Eduardo Solis Flores, 41, have all been confirmed as seriously injured victims. The 40-year-old Adan Garcia Garcia sustained what the police considered to be a slight injury.
Authorities reported that as of last Monday, Martinez, Galindo, and Solis Flores were still being treated in various hospitals. On Tuesday, state police had no new information about their conditions.
The Mexican Consulate in Portland confirmed that all victims were Mexican farm workers-
Comunicado de prensa pic.twitter.com/bJmQg0nWbo
— Consulmex Portland (@ConsulMexPot) May 20, 2023
Police found that everyone involved in the crash had ties to cities in Oregon, all but one. The consulate also reported helping victims’ relatives transfer their loved ones’ bodies to Mexico. Furthermore, it emphasized that it remains in constant contact with law enforcement.
This crash ranks among Oregon’s deadliest in recent memory. In August of 2018, a family of seven was killed in a head-on collision on a rural road in Harney County, Oregon. Among the victims were five small children. In all, eight lives were lost.
Keep up with what’s happening in Oregon with these helpful links:
- Oregon City Police Chief Jim Band Has Announced His Retirement.
- Residents in Southeast Portland Are Complaining About Recent Road Alterations.
In December 2012, nine people were killed when a tour bus lost control on an icy stretch of Interstate 84, slid through a railing, and plunged down a steep slope. The bus was traveling with around 40 people when it crashed in Deadman Pass near Pendleton.
In 1988, another accident on I-5 near Albany claimed seven lives and wounded 37 others. The catastrophic 23-car pileup claimed the lives of at least two infants. Approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Portland, Albany is between Salem and Eugene. The West Coast’s primary north-south interstate is the 5 (I-5).