BAKER CITY, Ore. - Two people were injured and a Sherwood woman got a hefty ticket Wednesday after she crashed on Interstate 84 in northeast Oregon while using her cellphone, Oregon State Police reported.
Shortly after 9 a.m., a 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup driven by Madison Moore, 21, of Sherwood, was headed west on Interstate 84 near milepost 334, about 30 miles east of Baker City.
Troopers said Moore was reportedly distracted while trying to use her cellphone while negotiating a right-hand curve when the pickup drifted to the left and collided twice with the center concrete barrier.
The pickup rolled once, coming to rest on its wheels. A canopy on the back of the pickup was heavily damaged and the contents inside were strewn across the freeway.
Firefighters removed Moore from the wreckage and took her by ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City with minor injuries. She was treated and released.
Passenger Don M. Hyrum, 24, of Phoenix, Arizona, climbed out of the pickup with minor injuries, troopers said, noting that both occupants were using safety restraints.
OSP troopers from the Baker City work site responded to the scene and investigated the crash. Moore was cited for unlawful use of a mobile communication device.
OSP was assisted at the scene by local emergency responders and ODOT. The westbound lanes were blocked for 20 minutes,then one lane was open until the scene was cleared about two hours later.
OSP and ODOT reminded drivers as of Jan. 1, Senate Bill 9 changed Oregon's traffic offense of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile communication device from a Class D violation to a Class C violation.
The minimum fine for a class C violation is $142, and the fine for the offense can be as high as $500. The fine's increase is aimed at reducing the number of crashes that involve a driver talking on a handheld phone or texting.
According to ODOT, In Oregon from 2009 to 2011, nine people died in crashes involving a driver who was reportedly using a cell phone at the time of the crash, and 673 people have been injured.
Using a cell phone while driving falls under the category of "distracted driving," and this type of distraction is an increasingly dangerous behavior across the country, OSP noted.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the U.S. 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 3,267 in 2010.