An alert Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy found a vehicle Thursday morning down an embankment off Highway 34 belonging to an elderly Waldport man reported missing the day before to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. The man was rescued from his vehicle northeast of Alsea and taken to a Corvallis hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Oregon State Police is investigating the crash and the man’s family was notified that he was found safe.
At approximately 10:44 a.m., Benton County Deputy Chris Dale was patrolling along Highway 34 near milepost 51 checking for signs of a vehicle belonging to the missing elderly Waldport man, identified as Jon Culton, 80.
Deputy Dale was checking a curvy section of the highway near Botkin Road. He stopped and got out to look off the eastbound shoulder where he spotted a vehicle not visible to highway travelers approximately 90 feet down an embankment with a person inside. Upon calling out to the person inside, the occupant responded he was OK but thirsty. The deputy confirmed the car matched the description of Culton’s missing 1998 Toyota Camry four-door that had rolled down the embankment and landed on its roof in a shallow creek.
OSP and firefighters from Corvallis and Philomath fire departments joined BCSO at the scene. Firefighters went down the embankment, removed Culton from the vehicle, and brought him back up in a basket to the road. Culton was transported by ground ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center for treatment of a non-life threatening chest injury.
Culton told investigating OSP Senior Trooper Nathan House that he crashed yesterday while enroute from Yachats to Corvallis for a doctor’s appointment. He said he attempted to use his cell phone but couldn’t get a signal. Trapped in his car, he used the floor mats to keep him warm during the night until he was found this morning and rescued.