A trucker is suing the Oregon Department of Transportation for $7.25 million after his truck fell 50 feet off of an I-84 exit, leaving him trapped upside down for an hour before rescuers could extract him.
Trucker Says Poor Design to Blame for Crash
Driver David Lee Sitton, 67 at the time of the crash, says in his suit that the I-84 ramp that merges onto northbound I-5 was badly designed and to blame for the crash. Sitton says that the ramp designed forced a passenger vehicle to suddenly change lanes and slam into his truck in June of 2013. His Mack truck with an empty trailer then hit the curb and the guard rail, which failed to stop it from falling 50 feet to the ground.
Driver Pinned in Cab for an Hour Before Rescue
According to the suit, the accident was so severe that the first rescue crews on scene believed Sitton had died and did not immediately take action to extract him. Later, when they heard Sitton’s screams for help, they found him upside down with his leg pinned. The suit states that Sitton was forced to use his hands against the roof of his cab to support his weight to stop his “pinned leg from separating from his body”.
After the crash, Sitton was unable to drive for over a year. He has endured many surgeries and says that the accident has negatively impacted his quality of life.
In 2014, Sitton sued the motorist who hit him for $7.5 million, but settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
ODOT has since added new signs, repaved and redesigned the ramp.
Click here to see the Oregonian’s photos of the crash site and ramp design.