Six injured in Highway 58 tunnel crash

Blocked road east of Oakridge for 2 hours

POSTED: 10:18 AM PDT March 23, 2013 
Hwy. 58 crash
OAKRIDGE, Ore. -

Six people were injured, one seriously, Friday afternoon in a multi-vehicle crash in the Salt Creek Tunnel on Highway 58 east of Oakridge, Oregon State Police said Saturday.

Icy road conditions were a contributing factor in the crash that closed the highway for two hours.

According to Trooper Ron Martin, around 4:10 p.m., troopers, local emergency responders and ODOT personnel responded to the crash on Highway 58 near milepost 56.

A preliminary investigation indicates a westbound 1999 Ford Explorer driven by Tanya Dawes, 41, of Klamath Falls, entered the tunnel and lost control on the icy roadway, Martin said.

The Ford Explorer struck the wall of the tunnel,then collided with an eastbound 1990 Volvo station wagon driven by Neil Hubler-Dayton, 21, from Eugene.

A third vehicle, a westbound 1998 Ford Taurus driven by Jesse Benson, 44, from Lebanon, spun out in the tunnel trying to stop and collided with a westbound commercial truck driven by Jerry Hatton, 59, from Bullhead City, Arizona.

Benson was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield with serious injuries, Martin said. His wife and three young children were transported by ambulance with minor injuries.

Hatton also was brought to the Springfield hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was treated and released, officials said.

No others involved were reported injured.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Oakridge Fire Department and ODOT. The highway was blocked for two hours as ODOT personnel from Springfield, Oakridge and Chemult worked to reopen it.