Bend crash victim still in critical condition

Police: say it appears alcohol was invovled

Rollover Crash Closes Mt. Washington Drive

BEND, Ore. - As dawn broke Friday morning in Bend, screeching tires awakened Elias Kassouf.

"I heard it immediately, rolled out of bed knowing that a car had crashed nearby," said Kassouf, who lives just below Mt. Washington Drive on Archie Briggs Road.

Police say Seairra Nelson of Bend was driving a 1993 Ford Explorer when it careened off a 10-foot embankment off Mt. Washington Drive and flipped. The 21-year-old was thrown from the crushed car and taken to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend,  where she remained in critical condition Saturday.

"There's no street lights -- it's a very dangerous road," Kassouf told me about the area.

The crash shut down the busy road for hours as crews worked to remove Nelson's mangled car.

After noticing small wine bottles strewn across the scene, Kassouf suspected Nelson was driving drunk, and according to a release from the Bend Police Department, it appears he was right.

"Driving fast -- forget about driving drunk, driving fast on this road is dangerous, especially as winter approaches," Kassouf said.

Firefighters put out flames that erupted under the hood after Nelson's Ford Explorer slammed into a set of three Juniper trees.

Kassouf says the scene was scary, but not unfamiliar. Three times in the last nine years, a car has landed in his or his neighbor's backyard.

He believes there's a simple fix.

"It would be great, maybe, if they just ran the guardrail a few hundred yards up Mt. Washington," he said. "It's completely off-camber, and if it was wet at all, or if you didn't know the road and it was 4:30 in the morning like it was last night -- it's easy to do."

Nelson's SUV nearly hit Kassouf's neighbor's house; fortunately, they weren't home at the time.

Pieces of Nelson's car were hanging in trees as glass covered the ground she was thrown onto.

Kassouf said he worries this won't be the last time he's woken up by a car crashing into his backyard.

Shortly before 8 a.m., a large semi-truck owned by 7 Peaks Paving and carrying a full load of asphalt overturned at the nearby intersection of Cottage Place and Constellation Drive, Taylor said.

The driver was in that area avoiding the road closure on Mt. Washington Drive, the sergeant said. As he turned onto Constellation Drive, the trailer's rear tires hit the curb on the northwest side of the intersection, causing it to overturn and spill asphalt.

That crash and spill blocked Constellation Drive, forcing drivers onto alternate routes, Taylor said. That driver was unhurt and no citations were issued.

By clicking Submit users are agreeing to follow the Terms of Service
comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular Stories