FREEWAY CRASH CLAIMS LIFE

December 18, 2001 12:00 am
I-84 FATAL: An Oregon State Police officer investigates an accident Monday that claimed the life of a 73-year-old Nevada woman on I-84 near the Mount Emily exit. The truck struck the Mercury sedan, which came to rest about 20 feet off the highway. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
I-84 FATAL: An Oregon State Police officer investigates an accident Monday that claimed the life of a 73-year-old Nevada woman on I-84 near the Mount Emily exit. The truck struck the Mercury sedan, which came to rest about 20 feet off the highway. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By The Observer

A collision between two westbound vehicles took the life of a Nevada woman Monday morning on Interstate 84.

Pat Minkner, 73, of Henderson, Nev., was killed just before 11 a.m. near the Union County-Umatilla County line.

Oregon State Police said Minkner was a passenger in a 1998 Mercury sedan being driven westbound by her husband, Walter Lee Minkner, 76. As explained by the OSP, the Minkner vehicle slid from the outer, left lane into the right lane where it was struck by a westbound 1998 Peterbilt semi driven by Debra L. Fish, 44, of Sioux City, Iowa.

As described by officers at the scene, the Mercury sedan went into a spin on the highway as it changed lanes. Fishs semi struck the passenger side of the car. The semi tractor and trailer jackknifed and came to rest on the north shoulder of the westbound lane facing eastbound.

The Minkner vehicle came to rest 20 feet north of the westbound lane, down an incline and facing eastbound.

Walter Lee Minkner was taken by a life flight helicopter to Legacy Emanual Hospital in Portland.

State police and the Oregon Department of Transportation Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers determined that Fish, the semi driver, had exceeded the maximum hours of driving time allowed by law within an eight-day period. She was cited for the violation, however, it isnt known if fatigue was a contributing factor in the crash.

An accident reconstruction and investigation is being done by La Grande and Pendleton state police troopers with help from ODOT.