Portland police investigators said a 22-year-old woman making a lane change on an Interstate 5 northbound on-ramp crashed into a semi's right front tire, causing the semi to swerve and fall roughly 50 feet off the freeway overpass.
The crash happened around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Jordan-Ashlee Sylvester was in the right lane of the ramp from Interstate 84 westbound to I-5 northbound, and switched to the left lane in hopes of continuing on to I-5.
That's when her Nissan Versa collided with the right front tire of the semi, causing Sylvester's car to swerve to the right and smash the concrete barrier.
Meanwhile, the semi swerved to the left and went over the 4-foot railing. It dropped 49 feet and crashed onto a Union Pacific Railroad property.
A Union Pacific Railroad office was damaged by the truck. Firefighters with training in structural collapse were sent to the building to evaluate it for collapse potential, and officials said the damage appeared to be minor.
The crash trapped the semi driver, 67-year-old David Sitton, of Arlington, in the semi's cab, and it took firefighters 32 minutes to free him.
At least 50 gallons of diesel leaked from the semi's damaged fuel tank, complicating rescue efforts by firefighters.
Once they pulled Sitton out of the truck, he was rushed to Legacy Emanuel Hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries.
A passenger in Sylvester's car also needed to be hospitalized.
Crews closed the ramp from westbound Interstate 84 to northbound Interstate 5 for hours to allow for a police investigation, but it reopened just before 8 a.m.
ODOT spokesman, Don Hamilton, said the railing on the freeway overpass suffered damage in the crash. Crews will need to close the ramp again Wednesday night to make concrete repairs and replace 150 feet of aluminum railing that topped the concrete barrier.
Police said drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash, and they said Sylvester stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation.
No citations have been issued.
The semi damaged in the crash is owned by Walsh Trucking Company in Troutdale.
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