Wrong-way semi driver crashes on I-205 bridge - KPTV - FOX 12

Wrong-way semi driver suspect has previous DUI conviction

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A chaotic scene involving a semi going the wrong way on two major local highways brought traffic to a halt throughout the Portland area Monday.

One person was hurt, but survived a serious crash with the truck. Kenneth Burgess, 49, was found guilty of driving under the influence years ago and now the semi driver is facing charges again.

Portland police said they first started getting reports of the wrong-way semi driver traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 at 4:20 a.m.

Sheriff's deputies started chasing the truck, which continued onto the I-205 Bridge, going northbound in the southbound lanes. Traffic cameras showed the semi barreling down the freeway and passing other cars heading in the opposite direction.

On the north side of the bridge, almost reaching the state of Washington, the truck slammed into a southbound car and stopped.

Paramedics rushed the driver of the southbound car, 24-year-old Katherine Emerson,  to Southwest Washington Medical Center. Emerson was treated and then released from the hospital.

One Portland police car was damaged by crash debris and had to be towed from the scene.

The semi driver, who police identified as Burgess, was treated at the scene, questioned by police and eventually arrested.

Burgess is believed to have been driving drunk at the time of the wreck, police said. He's now facing charges of driving under the influence, criminal mischief and reckless driving.

His arraignment is set for Tuesday.

Burgess works for TWT Refrigerated Service out of Cheney, WA. Owners of the trucking company declined to comment Monday.

Court records show that Burgess was found guilty of driving under the influence back in 1993 in Florida.

There were major delays on the freeway throughout the morning Monday.

For drivers coming to the Portland metro area from Washington, it was a nightmare commute, and I-205 didn't fully reopen until 10 a.m.

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