December 07, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

They (the drivers) lost control on ice, Oregon State Police Sr. Trooper Larry Graves said about Friday afternoons series of accidents along Interstate 84 at Ladd Creek.

Several state police officers spent much of their afternoon untangling the icy roadway of cars and trucks. Graves added that he never did leave that part of the interstate for his shift.

While state police hadnt, as of this morning, compiled their information about everyone who was involved in the accident, it was known that there were five separate accidents near the same mile marker as the ice began playing a major factor in afternoon travel plans.

Graves was called to work with a semi tractor-trailer rig that had slid into the median and jumped the barricade, blocking inside lanes in both the westbound and eastbound lanes.

The driver and passenger, while not visibly injured, were transported to Grande Ronde Hospital to be checked out, Graves added. Names were unavailable at press time.

According to the La Grande Rural Fire Department, one other person from a different vehicle was also taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Another vehicle, a van, tipped onto its side and slid on the pavement.

The driver, Jim Fox, hauls the Baker City Herald from the press in La Grande each day to Baker City.

After the accident, Foxs vehicle was towed to a La Grande garage, while the Baker City Heralds were reloaded into another vehicle and Fox, who suffered bumps and bruises, headed out for another trip to Baker City.

Graves said that it appeared that the semi, Foxs van and a white pickup received the most damage in the accidents. Dollar estimates werent available at press time. The other vehicles, he said, either slid into a guardrail or into the median barrier.

The Oregon Department of Transportation worked with state police to close the westbound interstate for a few hours.

And for those who travel the interstates, another day could bring more of the same.

After his first drive on Interstate 84 this morning, Graves reports that there were spots of ice that drivers should watch out for.