Truck-SUV collision blamed on driver's heart attack
- Gary Allen
- Newberg Graphic - News
A Tacoma, Wash., man lost his life Wednesday morning on a highway southwest of Dundee after what police say was a medical emergency.
According to a release from the Oregon State Police, a 2014 Freightliner tractor pulling a 53-foot box trailer from freight hauler J.B. Hunt was traveling southbound at about 6:40 a.m. on Highway 99W one mile south of Dundee when driver Dwayne Steven Kemp, 46, suffered cardiac arrest and veered across the grass median and into the northbound lanes of the highway.
As the truck crossed the median it blocked the path of a 2005 Hyundai Tucson piloted by McMinnville resident Tarin Lynne Bickford, 49, who attempted to avoid crashing into the truck by swerving into a nearby ditch. He was unsuccessful and the right front bumper of the truck impacted the front of the SUV, spinning the Hyundai around. Both vehicles came to rest in a field just off the roadway.
Kemp was transported to Providence Newberg Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Bickford and the passengers in the SUV – McMinnville resident Emma K. Allen and an unidentified juvenile – were transported to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville for treatment of "minor to moderate injuries," the report said. Kemp and all those in the SUV were wearing safety belts at the time of the crash, which also caused the Hyundai's air bags to deploy as well.
The highway was restricted to one lane in either direction for about six hours with intermittent closures to allow crews to remove the vehicles and debris, as well as a reconstruction team to evidence and information.
State police were assisted on the call by crews from the Dundee and McMinnville fire departments and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, as well as the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Newberg-Dundee Police Department and Oregon Department of Transportation.