Police: Wrong-way semi driver staggered, stumbled, blew .15 - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Wrong-way semi driver staggered, stumbled, blew .15

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Investigators said a semi driver accused of going the wrong way on two local highways before causing a serious crash had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

Court documents released Tuesday said Kenneth Burgess, 49, admitted to police he should not have been driving Monday morning.

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.

Court documents show officers deployed spike strips on the south end of the bridge, but Burgess kept on going at an estimated speed of 85 mph.

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

The car was destroyed and the driver was rushed to the hospital. Katherine Emerson, 24, suffered bruising and pain on her arms, legs, chest and neck. Investigators said she had cuts all over her body from shattered glass and experienced painful muscle aches.

She was released from the hospital Monday.

Police said Burgess stumbled and struggled to keep his balance after the crash. His eyes were watery and bloodshot, according to court documents, and officers said they could smell alcohol on his breath.

Burgess told police he felt the effects of the alcohol he consumed and admitted he should not have been driving.

When asked how he'd rate himself on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being highly intoxicated, Burgess told police he was likely a six.

His blood-alcohol level was .15 percent, according to court documents.

The chaotic scene caused massive backups and delays on local roads through Monday morning.

Burgess was arraigned in court Tuesday on charges of DUII, reckless driving, assault and criminal mischief. They are all misdemeanor charges. His bail is set at $12,500.

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