Rising sun factor in Baker Rd. overpass crash

Neither driver seriously injured

BEND, Ore. - A driver apparently blinded by the rising sun struck another car head-on on the Knott-Baker Road overpass south of Bend Monday morning, but both drivers came away with only minor injuries, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies and Bend fire medics were dispatched around 6:20 a.m. to the crash involving a white 2000 GMC Sierra extended-cab truck and a maroon four-door 1990 Pontiac Bonneville, said sheriff's Sgt. Bryan Husband.

Deputies at first were told a driver was trapped in a vehicle, but he was able to get out on his own, Husband said.

Deputies determined that Marvin Akins, 62, of Bend, was heading east at the wheel of his pickup on the Highway 97 overpass, while Daniel Bridge, 24, also of Bend, was at the wheel of the Pontiac, which was heading west toward Deschutes River Woods.

Akins reportedly was blinded by the sun and did not see the Pontiac, then began to turn north toward the northbound highway on-ramp, Husband said. The car was going about 40 mph and the pickup about 10-15 mph, the sergeant added.

Both drivers, alone in their vehicles, were wearing seatbelts, Husband said, and airbags did not deploy. Both were treated on scene by medics and released, but their vehicles had to be towed due to major front-end damage. The westbound lane at the overpass was closed for nearly 90 minutes, Husband said, adding that no citations were issued.

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