A log truck driven by a Prineville man tipped onto its side on a curve on Hwy. 197 south of The Dalles Thursday morning and its load of logs broke loose, crashing into a station wagon and critically injuring the driver, Oregon State Police said.
According to OSP Lt. Patrick Shortt, around 6:50 a.m., a loaded log truck driven by Westley Kriege, 37, of Prineville, was northbound on Highway 197 about five miles south of The Dalles, traveling downhill through a right-hand curve when the trailer and truck tipped onto their side.
The logs broke loose into the southbound lane, where they slid into a southbound 1999 Subaru Legacy station wagon driven by John Garrett, 54, of The Dalles, Shortt said.
Garrett was trapped in the station wagon and extricated by area responding fire personnel. He was flown by air ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where he was in critical condition later Thursday.
A passenger in the Subaru, identified as Trixie Garrett, 52, from Safford, Arizona, was transported by ground ambulance to Mid Columbia Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Both were wearing seat belts.
Kriege received minor injuries but refused transport to a hospital, said OSP troopers from the The Dalles and Portland offices who were conducting the investigation.
ODOT Motor Carrier inspectors will be assisting with the investigation to help determine the cause of the crash. Also assisting at the scene were the Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue, the Dallesport, Washington Fire Department and ODOT.
Highway 197 was blocked for about three hours before one lane was open. The highway was partly blocked through the day to remove the logs and cleared before 7 p.m.