On Wednesday, June 7, police arrested the driver of a white box truck that allegedly struck two Knife River Corporation highway workers and then fled the scene in the early morning hours of June 6.
The hit-and-run occurred on the northbound side of Interstate 5 just north of the Aurora exit by milepost 280 at about 3:15 a.m.
Colin Michael Cook, 27, of Fairview, is being held in Marion County Jail on charges that include failing to perform the duties of a driver, second-degree assault, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
"We had two lanes closed and we were getting ready to open that back up to traffic," said Brian Gray, president of the northwest region for Knife River. "They were both in an F-250 pickup and they were inside the road closure with plenty of signage and warnings."
Cook's vehicle allegedly went through the construction barrels and hit the back of the F-250 pickup causing serious injuries to the two workers.
The Knife River workers, 20-year-old Antonio Manuel Bahena and 57-year-old Ronald Ernest Davis, were taken to Portland area hospitals for treatment of their injuries. Bahena was released but Davis remained at Legacy Emmanuel in critical condition.
Traffic backed up for miles during the morning rush hour as investigators pieced together what happened; two lanes of I-5 were closed during the investigation but reopened around 8:15 a.m.
The Aurora and Hubbard Fire Districts responded to the scene; Aurora Fire Operations Chief Greg Dyke declined to comment about what he saw at the scene.
The two patients were transported to area hospitals — one via Life Flight Network Helicopter and the other by Woodburn Ambulance.
Oregon State Police were asking for the #PublicsAssistance, and witnesses or anyone knowing anything about the hit-and-run were urged to use the above hashtag in providing tips — law enforcement are using the social media platform Twitter more and more as a method of asking the public's help in finding suspects who are at large.
In an unrelated incident, the driver of a Jeep was arrested near the scene of the crash for speeding and driving recklessly on the shoulder.
*Pamplin Media Group news partner KOIN contributed to this report.