Support funds set up to help families of farmworkers killed in I-5 crash

ALBANY, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon State Police have released the names and ages of the victims in last week’s crash on Interstate 5 north of Albany that left seven people dead and four injured.

The victims were all in a van that had pulled over behind a parked semi truck while traveling northbound on the afternoon of May 18. A second semi truck left the road and smashed into the back of the van, pushing it into the first semi truck.

The driver of the second truck, Lincoln Clayton Smith of California, was arrested on charges of DUII, reckless driving, manslaughter and assaults. A district attorney said Smith refused a field sobriety test and was unable to focus and answer basic questions, the Salem Statesman Journal reported. The prosecutor also said Smith acknowledged taking “speed” the day before the crash and was in possession of methamphetamine, according to the paper.

The van occupants were all farmworkers who had been traveling at an hour when agricultural laborers typically commute home, the state’s farmworkers union said Saturday.

“All of these hardworking immigrants in this vehicle….7 of their lives taken away. The purpose of them being here was to better their lives, and it was taken away,” said the daughter of one of the victims.

The four surviving van occupants were hospitalized, and three of them remain hospitalized as of Monday with serious injuries, OSP said. The names, ages residences, and conditions of the victims are as follows:

  • Adan Garcia Garcia, 40, of Woodburn — minor injury
  • Hector Galindo, 45, of Gervais — serious injury
  • Maria Flores Martinez, 60, of Salem — serious injury
  • Jose Eduardo Solis Flores, 41, of Gervais — serious injury
  • Eduardo Lopez, 31, of Gervais — deceased
  • Alejandro Jimenez Hernandez, 36, of Gervais — deceased
  • Josue Garcia Garcia, 30, of Salem — deceased
  • Luis Enrique Gomez Reyes, 30, of Woodburn — deceased
  • Javier Suarez, 58, of Woodburn — deceased
  • Alejandra Espinoza Carpio, 39 — deceased
  • Juan Carlos Leyva Carrillo, 37, of Woodburn — deceased

Providing support for families

On Monday, leaders in the Latino community met to plan how they would help survivors and victims’ families.

“We were in shock and devastated, so we knew that we had to act,” said Anthony Veliz with Poder, Oregon’s Latino Leadership Network.

One resource they’re offering is free emotional support. Veliz co-owns OYEN Emotional Wellness Center, a bilingual, bicultural, behavioral mental health clinic. Besides the victims’ families, Veliz said OYEN will also help victims’ co-workers.

“They’re devastated,” said Veliz. “They don’t know what to do; obviously shock, sorrow, all the emotions. What we’re really there for is to provide them with someone to talk to and listen and help them– even though it’s so new–through this grieving process.”

PCUN, the union representing farmworkers, is raising money to support the 11 farmworkers and their families. They’re hoping to raise at least $60,000 by June 3 to divide evenly amongst them. The fundraiser can be found here.

The Oregon Farm Bureau set up a Farmworker Families Support Fund through GoFundMe for those who would like to contribute.

AWARE Food Bank in Woodburn is providing food to victims’ families.

“The beautiful thing is our community is a really giving community,” said Veliz. “There are people just waiting to help and we’re trying to coordinate that and do it in a respectful way.”

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