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First snowfall snarls roadways

November 30, 2005

A Hood River driver lost control of his vehicle during Monday evening’s snowfall and plowed into another motorist along Highway 35.

Meanwhile, on Interstate 84, snow caused numerous minor crashes Tuesday morning, with no known injuries, according to Oregon State Police (OSP).

Yet the interstate was closed for several hours after four inches of snow fell on the Mid-Columbia region. Troopers and tow truck drivers sorted out the snarls caused by numerous commercial trucks as well as private vehicles stopping in the middle of the freeway.

OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings said the drivers were either stuck because they had ignored instructions to chain up, or chose the land of travel to fulfill that posted requirement.

“The highway is not meant to be a slalom course to weave through because others failed to chain up and get involved in crashes,” Hastings said.

The best recourse was to temporarily close the interstate, he said.

“When that happens it’s important that we try to get everyone through safely, and that means closing it,” he said.

Monday’s Highway 35 head-on collision occurred near mile post 101 and left Jose Huerta-Espinoza, 29, of Hood River seriously injured. According to reports, his 1988 Toyota Camry struck the 1994 Jeep Cherokee driven by Adrian Flores-Sandoval, 33, of Hood River about 8 p.m. on Nov. 28.

An OSP spokesperson said Flores-Sandoval received minor injuries in the wreck. Both men were transported via ambulance to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.

Their vehicles were towed from the scene but no damage report was available as of press time on Tuesday.

The speed the two men were traveling is also unknown.

The Hood River City Police responded to a roll-over accident along Rand Road with no serious injuries on Monday evening.

They were also called to assist in a fender-bender at the junction of Fourth Street and Montello Avenue.

Police Capt. Kevin Lynch said barricades are posted near steep embankments such as the Rand Road and Montello Avenue intersection. However, he said many motorists opt to drive behind these safety barriers anyway.

And risk losing control of their vehicle on a slippery road and sliding over a steep hillside.

“If we catch people doing this we will issue them a citation,” he said.

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