MITCHELL, Ore. - A 26-year-old Bend man was in critical condition at a Portland burn center Tuesday, one day after his truck was in a fiery crash on Highway 26 near Mitchell that he managed to escape, authorities said.
Oregon State Police responded around 1:45 p.m. to the reported two-vehicle crash involving a well-drilling truck that was on fire, with someone possibly pinned in the truck.
Troopers said the driver, Shaun Alexander, was able to pull himself from the truck and was pulled to safety as the truck became fully engulfed.
Alexander was flown to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries, then flown to the Legacy Oregon Burn Center in Portland, where a spokesman said he was in critical condition late Tuesday afternoon.
A witness and family members who set up a GoFundMe page for medical expenses said the truck lost its brakes, and Alexander swerved to barely miss an oncoming car before striking a rock wall.
Witness Janet Rawlings said the man’s co-worker, driving another truck behind him, pulled Alexander away from the burning truck.
Mitchell Rural Fire and the Oregon Department of Forestry sent crews who put out the blaze before it could spread. Rawlings called it “a miracle that the fire did not cause a forest fire.”
The family said Alexander, a father of three young children, suffered severe burns over 60 to 70 percent of his body and a broken leg.
“He has a good but very long prognosis, with many surgeries and hospital cost to be expected,” the GoFundMe posting by Tarah Alexander stated.