Feb 252011

(Click image to play video)

Official OSP report on the crash.
But correction on the OSP report on who was transported to trauma center in Corvallis

Three people were injured, one seriously, in a two vehicle head-on crash Friday afternoon on Highway 229 about six miles north of Toledo. Oregon State Police (OSP) is cautioning travelers to slow down and be alert for unexpected icy condition on roads that appear to be dry.

At approximately 1:55 p.m. a red 2007 Chevrolet Aveo driven by REBECCA JO WHELEN, age 52, from Siletz, was northbound on Highway 229 near milepost 26. WHELEN lost control on an icy stretch after passing another vehicles, fishtailed and then traveled into the southbound lane where her car collided head-on with a 1997 Subaru Legacy station wagon driven by BETTY L. CURRAN, age 76, from Siletz. After impact the Chevrolet came to rest against guardrail on the southbound shoulder and the Subaru came to rest in a ditch on the northbound side of the highway.

WHELEN was transported by Pac West Ambulance to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport with minor injuries. She was using safety restraints and her car’s airbags deployed.

CURRAN’s husband, Roy Curran, 79, was also transported by Pac West Ambulance to the Newport area hospital. Betty Curran was extricated from the vehicle by Siletz and Toledo firefighters. She was initially taken to the Siletz area by ambulance and then transferred to a REACH air ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis with very serious injuries, especially to her lower extremities. Both were using safety restraints and the vehicle’s airbags deployed.

OSP troopers from the Newport Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and ODOT assisted at the scene as the highway was closed or restricted to one lane for about 2 1/2 hours.

The OSP estimated about 15 traffic crashes happened on area highways as heavy traffic came for the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival. Most were single vehicle non-injury crashes where drivers initially traveling on dry pavement suddenly came upon ice and lost control.

The accident was another in a series that is caused by black ice. Snow melt runs across the road in shaded areas…and because the ground is cold, the liquid turns to ice because the ground temperature is still at or below or below freezing. Law enforcement urges the public to drive extremely cautiously with an eye out for black ice that can appear out of nowhere.

Traffic on 229 had been stopped both ways since around 2:15pm. Long backups in both directions. It’s been since re-opened to normal traffic.

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