Man at OHSU following Highway 20 crash

BURNT WOODS — A 30-year-old man is in surgery following a single-vehicle crash around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16.

According to a spokesperson for the Oregon State Police, the man was traveling eastbound on Highway 20 in a green Chevrolet Cavalier when he crossed the centerline near Milepost 32 and crashed directly into the guardrail running alongside the westbound lane.

The railing cut through the driver's side of the car, severely injuring the driver's legs, and exited through the passenger side rear door. The driver was transported via helicopter to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where he was undergoing a procedure at 2 p.m. Friday.

Both lanes of the highway were closed for about 20 minutes while emergency personnel transported the driver from the vehicle to a waiting helicopter. A single lane remained closed for about two hours, said Toledo Fire Chief Will Ewing.

"The extrication was very extensive. It took about 60 minutes," Ewing said.

It took so long because emergency personnel had to render medical aid at the same time, which interfered with the man's rescue from the vehicle.

"This is the first time that I've ever seen a vehicle punctured by a guardrail like that. The guardrail didn't even bend. It was such a straight-on trajectory," Ewing said.

Ewing said he's not sure how or why the driver hit the railing at such an unusual angle, but said it appears that the driver didn't attempt to hit the brakes.

OSP from the Newport branch, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Linn County Sheriff's Office, Toledo Fire, Pacific West Ambulance Service, and REACH Air Medical Services all responded.

"The people that were involved in the extrication all performed very professionally. It was a pretty traumatic extrication, and all the components  — law enforcement, EMS, fire — everyone did a very professional job," Ewing said.

Contact reporter Calley Hair at 541-265-8571 ext. 211 or [email protected]

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