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Oregon road construction workers have seen an upswing of impaired drivers smashing into their work areas

DAVID F. ASHTON - After a highly intoxicated driver plowed into this construction work area, traffic on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard came to a standstill. Preparing for the comprehensive paving project in now underway, Oregon Department of Transportation highway construction contractors were working late on Tuesday evening, June 27, installing curbing on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard at Umatilla Street.

Southbound traffic on McLoughlin Boulevard was, at the time, funneled down to one lane; and, although illuminated signs were flashing and flaggers were warning drivers to slow down, one car sped into the scene, swerved, struck an operating backhoe, and bounced against the center concrete barrier where it ground to a stop.

With the car wedged up against the barrier, Woodstock Fire Station Truck 25 arrived and extricated the driver from the rear passenger's side of the vehicle.

Two ambulances were called to the scene, and both the driver of the car and the backhoe operator were separately transported to local hospitals.

"The driver of the car, 30-year-old Emily K. Kralj, indeed crashed into a backhoe and had to be extricated from her vehicle," confirmed Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Christopher Burley.

"She was cited for 'DUII-Alcohol' and 'Reckless Driving'; Kralj's alcohol impairment and speed appear to be factors in this crash," Burley told THE BEE. "Kralj's preliminary Blood Alcohol Content was 0.274 (the legal limit is 0.08)," he added.

Kralj was apparently not seriously injured, and was released by the hospital; the driver of the backhoe remained hospitalized for treatment of "non-life-threatening" injuries.

The reconstruction of McLoughlin Boulevard – State Highway 99W – continues, particularly at night and on the weekends, between S.E. Harold Street in Westmoreland and Harrison Street in downtown Milwaukie, for the rest of the summer – and drivers are advised to use caution, and to slow down in the work zone area.

Contract Publishing

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