Man hit, killed by semi-trailer while changing tire on I-5

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A 43-year-old man was hit and killed by a passing semi-trailer on I-5 Saturday afternoon while he stopped to change a flat tire near Canyonville.

State Police officials said that Wes Roy Woods, 43, of Riddle, was kneeling down to change a flat on his passenger car when the rear wheels of a semi-trailer ran over his legs. Woods was taken to a Roseburg hospital where he died from his injuries.

Troopers reported that Woods pulled off to the side of Interstate 5 near milepost 102 to change a flat tire on the driver's side of the vehicle. He stopped with about three feet of room between the car and the right fog line, officials said.

According to State Police Sergeant Matt Bowersox, a commercial truck pulling a semi-trailer driven by Gurmail Dhillon, 31, from Surry, British Columbia, was northbound in the right lane following another commercial truck. Dhillon braked and tried moving into the left lane after he saw Woods kneeling by the car, police said.

The right-rear trailer tires went over the fog line and ran over Woods' lower legs, police officials said.

Troopers said that two family-friends who were traveling with Woods tended to his injuries until emergency crews arrived. Woods was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg; officials said he died in the hospital about an hour after he was struck.

Sgt. Bowersox said that Woods had more pavement and gravel on the shoulder of the road which would have allowed for a safer buffer zone away from the freeway traffic lanes. Woods had his emergency lights flashing while he changed the tire.

Dhillon stopped at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation, police said.

From Oregon State Police:

Important things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on a highway include:

* Don't stop in traffic.

* Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.

* Change a tire along the side of a highway only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger. If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment, and can do it safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally would but keep in mind it may be best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown while traveling.

* Turn your emergency flashers on and, if available, place reflective triangles or a flare behind your vehicle.

* It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if you need to proceed at a slow speed to a safer location such as a nearby exit or wide area along the shoulder.

* If you can't safely change your tire or need help for a mechanical breakdown on an interstate freeway or state highway, call for roadside assistance response or contact an OSP dispatch center.