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May-04-2008 19:44printcomments

Two People Die in Crash on Interstate 5 South of Roseburg

One woman who died in the crash was a U.S. Army soldier who was 8-months pregnant.

Fatal crash near Roesburg, Oregon 5-4-08
Photo of crash scene: Oregon State Police

(ROSEBURG, Ore.) - Two women were killed, including one who was 8 months pregnant, and a man was critically injured early Sunday morning in a two vehicle head-on crash involving a wrong way driver in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 about 3 miles south of Roseburg, Oregon State Police said.

OSP Senior Trooper Mark Moore says early this morning, at approximately 3:17 AM, a two vehicle head-on crash was reported on Interstate 5 near milepost 118 in Douglas County.

A witness told police they saw a white 2002 Pontiac Grand Am with Oregon license plates get on Interstate 5 northbound going the wrong way, in the southbound lanes, near milepost 113.

Moore says that at 3:14 AM, a report was received of this wrong way driver by Douglas County 9-1-1 center. A Roseburg police officer was dispatched to set up on the freeway in their city and a Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy was deployed southbound on Interstate 5, according to Moore.

"As the wrong way vehicle was continuing northbound it struck a southbound silver 2008 Hyundai Elantra displaying Washington license plates containing two occupants head-on in the left southbound lane. The Hyundai attempted to avoid the oncoming Pontiac by swerving to the left but the right front passenger side of the Hyundai was struck by the Pontiac's driver side."

Moore says no OSP Roseburg Area Command personnel were on duty at the time of the crash in the area so they were called out to respond and investigate the crash.

"A Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy was the first police officer to arrive. Medical and fire personnel from Roseburg Fire District #2 responded to the scene. Myrtle Creek Police Department and ODOT also responded to assist."

The Pontiac's driver, 40-year old Cheryl Denise Rowe of Albany, Oregon, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Hyundai's driver, 21-year old Andrew Cruz Cajita of San Mateo, California, was critically injured and initially transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg. He was then taken by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland and remains in critical condition this afternoon.

The Hyundai's passenger, 20-year old Chanthea Elizabeth Prak, was eight months pregnant and was also pronounced deceased at the scene. Ms. Prak is reportedly from Fresno, California, and currently in the US Army where she was assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington.

OSP troopers from the Roseburg Area Command office are continuing the investigation to determine the cause and factors involved in the crash. Anyone with information is asked to contact Senior Trooper Moore at (541) 440-3334 ext. 4725.

The southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed about four hours and a detour was established by ODOT around the area.

Source: Oregon State Police

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