A member of an ODOT road work crew is credited with saving the life of one of the motorists who had stopped for a flagger on Highway 20 just east of Albany. Oregon State Police say a young Sisters man, driving a truck and trailer full of hay came on the scene too fast. John Olson couldn’t bring his rig to a stop in time and slammed into the fourth car back from the flagger. That set off a chain reaction forward, which caused a pick up to pop-out and roll down into a pond. It sank to the bottom with the water up over the roof.
ODOT employee Troy Elverfeld, who was part of the work crew, saw the dust and smoke from the accident. He rushed over to investigate. Seeing the pickup completely submerged, police say Elverfeld grabbed a steel bar from a backhoe and dove into the water. He found the driver, Dean Stilwell, still inside, in an air pocket, with the windows still rolled up. Elverfeld used the steel bar to break the window and on the third attempt was able to pull Stilwell out through the window. Both surfaced and Stilwell was pulled to safety.
Driver of the pickup with the hay, John Olson, 21, from Sisters, was not serioiusly injured, nor were the other four who were in the accident. Later, at the hospital, Stilwell said he didn’t remember being submerged in his pickup. Doctors said he may have suffered a concussion.
State police cited Olson for careless driving.