Oregon State Police troopers are continuing their investigation into Tuesday afternoon’s crash on highway 126E near milepost 11, in Cedar Flat, just east of Springfield. The crash killed 11,000 Chinook Salmon smolts that were enroute to Row River near Cottage Grove where they were to be released. The fish were being transferred as a result of low water concerns at McKenzie Hatchery caused by floodgate malfunctions at Leaburg Dam, which provides water to the hatchery.
As driver RAY C. LEWIS, 45, of Umpqua was negotiating a curve, his ODFW fish delivery tanker went off the roadway and crashed into a power pole and some trees. The truck overturned and spilled its contents at the roadside. All of the fish being transported died as a result of the crash.
LEWIS suffered facial and scalp lacerations and was transported to the hospital for treatment of other unknown injuries. Alcohol is being investigated as a contributing factor in this incident and additional investigation is pending. OSP is being assisted by the Lane County District Attorney’s Office (LCDA). It’s reported in The Oregonian that driver Lewis was tested for alcohol in his blood stream and it came back more than three times the level of being officially drunk behind the wheel.