Two people died Wednesday afternoon when their southbound motorhome struck a parked semi trailer on Interstate 5 near milepost 206, east of Harrisburg.
An Oregon State Trooper discovered the accident scene at 3:15 p.m. and noticed flames coming from the motorhome. After yelling into the wreckage, he heard a 5-year-old girl crying for help. Using a fire extinguisher to knock down the flames, the trooper and two civilians from the rest area managed to break the side of the motorhome open and pull the girl to safety.
The driver of the motorhome, Albany resident Sandra C. Bishop, 69, and her passenger, Nebraska resident Michael Bunten, 26, were pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the commercial vehicle, Sergio A. Valente, 36, of Corona, California, was in the truck’s sleeper berth at the time of the collision and was not injured.
According to OSP investigators, the 1998 Ford Tioga motorhome was traveling southbound when it took the off-ramp to the Oak Grove Rest Area. For an unknown reason, the motor home drifted out of the lane of travel and rear-ended the parked truck.
The rescued girl was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield where she was treated for serious injuries.
Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Harrisburg and Coburg fire districts, and the Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office assisted OSP at the scene.
Troopers are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the two witnesses who helped rescue the girl from the wreckage. Any person with information may call the Springfield Area Command at 541-726-2536.