Van fire and multi-vehicle crash close Highway 97

First a van fire, then a multi-car crash snarled traffic for a few hours Tuesday morning on Highway 97 just south of Bend.

The van fire happened just after 10 a.m. and closed both lanes of the highway about 9 miles south of Bend for about a half hour. The fire started under the hood and was contained to the van in the shoulder of the southbound lanes, but officials were concerned that some of the cargo – nitrogen and two oxyacetylene torches – forcing the closure of northbound lanes as well. The southbound lanes reopened about 10:30.

Courtesy Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office

At 11:45, ODOT reported a 5-car crash had closed the southbound lanes, this time about 7 miles south of Bend.

According to Oregon State Police, a driver wasn’t aware of the stopped traffic due to the van fire and was blinded by the sun when he hit the back of a car in front of him, causing the chain-reaction crash.

A 78-year-old man was injured in the crash and taken to the hospital.

OSP did not say if any citations were handed out.

The road reopened about an hour later.

Courtesy Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office



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