SUTHERLIN - Ore. -- Two log truck drivers survived a head-on crash near Sutherlin, Ore., on Tuesday.
The Sutherlin Fire Department and Oregon State Police responded to a call around 1 p.m. after the two unloaded logging trucks collided.
The accident happened about three miles west of Sutherlin after the eastbound driver, Jason Marlin, 32, of Myrtle Creek, veered into the westbound lane of Highway 138.
The westbound truck, driven by William Nye, 45, also of Myrtle Creek, attempted to avoid the oncoming logging truck, traveling in the wrong lane by heading towards the ditch on the north side of the road.
The trucks collided on the driver side.
Both men were transported to Mercy Medical Center, and OSP troopers on scene explained that the men are lucky to be alive.
"If they had both been loaded up with logs, the impact would have been much more severe and a lot less likely that the people would have survived," said Senior Trooper Mark Moore.
The east and westbound lanes of Highway 138 west of Sutherlin were closed for over an hour and a half as ODOT and towing crews attempted to clear the diesel fuel and shreds of truck debris littered across the roadway.
Senior Trooper Moore explained that had these trucks been loaded, the accident may have had a much different outcome. "One of the factors of the crash is kinetic energy, which deals with the mass of a vehicle and it's speed. These calculated together come up with kinetic energy. The lighter the vehicle is, the less kinetic energy it's gonna have for a given speed."
Marlin had to be extricated from his vehicle, sustained very serious injuries and was transported to a Portland hospital.
"The fact that it was two semis on semis and fairly same weight lessened the impact actually for each driver. Would it have been a semi versus a car, even though the semi was unloaded it would have been a much more severe crash for the car," said Moore.
Hazmat crews are expected to assess the situation to develop a plan to remove the hazardous fuel spill from the ditch and creek next to the roadway.