One of the truck drivers killed in a series of crashes Sunday night on Interstate 84 east of Pendleton was a Richland man, according to the Oregon State Police.
Mario Santana, 51, was found dead inside the 2009 Peterbilt truck he was driving, state police said. The truck was carrying two empty milk containers.
Gerald Alexander, 51, of Houston, TX, was also killed when he was ejected from the 2003 Western Star truck he was driving, state police said. Alexander’s body was found nearly a mile from the crash scene.
Investigators are trying to determine if an ODOT snow plow coming through the area after the crash may have pushed his body from the scene.
Both men were pronounced dead at the crash scene near milepost 221.
A preliminary investigation shows Vasiliy Lobodyuk, 38, of Portland, lost control of a Volvo truck while driving west on the icy interstate around 7:30 p.m., state police said. The truck crashed on the side of the road and a semi-trailer it was carrying blocked part of the interstate.
Heavy fog was reported in the area and the two trucks, driven by Santana and Alexander, then crashed into the Volvo, state police said.
A short while later, a mail truck, driven by Arlington Quarless, 36, of Tacoma, collided with the Western Star and Peterbilt, state police said. Quarless and a passenger suffered minor injuries but were not taken to a hospital.
Troopers and emergency personnel also responded to other crashes near milepost 221 on Sunday night, state police said. The westbound lanes of Interstate 84 were closed until Monday afternoon.