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Tractor-trailer trucks collide head-on in Malheur County, killing both drivers

The truck collision Saturday morning closed U.S. 20 for the rest of the day. At left are the Jeep that was following the westbound truck and the Kia that followed the Jeep.
The truck collision Saturday morning closed U.S. 20 for the rest of the day. At left are the Jeep that was following the westbound truck and the Kia that followed the Jeep. Provided by the Oregon State Police

Two semi-trailer trucks slammed into each other head-on Saturday on U.S. 20 west of Vale, killing both drivers.

According to Oregon State Police:

One truck was eastbound on the two-lane highway at about 9:10 a.m. (Mountain time) when it veered into the westbound lane for an unknown reason and crashed into the other. Both trucks burst into flames.

A Jeep Wrangler behind the westbound truck collided with the truck’s trailer. A Kia Spectra behind the Jeep struck the rear of the Jeep. Airbags deployed in both cars, and no one in them was reported injured.

The crash closed the highway. It was still closed at 7:30 p.m. as the trucks kept burning. About 400 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the highway.

The crash occurred near milepost 216 west of Harper. Speed and weather conditions were believed to be contributing factors.

Officials advised travelers to wait in a safe place until the highway reopened, because alternate routes such as U.S. 26 were experiencing icy conditions. They urged drivers to turn off cruise control and not to follow GPS navigation directions onto unfamiliar roads that may be impassable. For updates, drivers can call 503-588-2941 or visit TripCheck.com.

Through Ontario and Vale, the highway connects the Treasure Valley with Burns, Bend and the central part of western Oregon.

David Staats: 208-377-6417, @DavidStaats

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