Two commercial truck drivers were tragically killed in a head-on collision in Malheur County, Oregon, on December 30, 2017. The accident happened on U.S. 20, just west of Harper, at approximately 9:10 a.m.
Cause of Fatal Kenworth-Freightliner Truck Crash Under Investigation
The preliminary investigation by the Oregon State Patrol (OSP) found evidence that speed and weather conditions may be contributing factors in the crash. OSP released the following information:
“A white 2016 Kenworth commercial truck and semitrailer operated by Brian Brunscher (37) of Springfield, Oregon was traveling eastbound on US 20 near milepost 216, when for an unknown reason the vehicle entered the westbound lane of travel and into the path of an orange 2015 Freightliner commercial truck and trailer operated by James Shorten (55) of Portland, Oregon that was traveling westbound. The two commercial vehicles collided head on and burst into flames.”
According to OSP, “Brunscher and Shorten were confirmed deceased at the scene.”
A Jeep Wrangler then crashed into the westbound Freighliner’s trailer, and a Kia Spectra hit the Jeep from behind. Airbags deployed in both the Jeep and the car, and no one was seriously injured.
It took crews 12 hours to put out the fire, investigate the scene of the accident, and remove the damaged vehicles, which had spilled 400 gallons of diesel onto the road. This continues to be an ongoing investigation. Speed and weather conditions are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.
OSP officers and investigators were assisted by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Transportation, Ontario Fire and Rescue, Ontario Haz-Mat, Vale Fire and Rescue, Steve Rich Environmental Services and Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel.
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