REDMOND, Ore. - The driver of an armored truck lost control on Hwy. 126 west of Redmond and veered into the oncoming lane Monday morning, colliding with an SUV and sending its driver, a Bend 18-year-old, to the hospital in critical condition, Oregon State Police reported. The hospital reported Wednesday he had improved to serious condition.
The crash occurred shortly before 9 a.m., about two miles west of Redmond, and blocked the road for close to an hour. It was limited to one lane, with flaggers, after that.
According to OSP Lt. Carl Rhodes, a car was stopped westbound on the highway near milepost 109, waiting to turn left onto SW 55th Place.
A westbound armored truck from Garda Armored Transportation came up from behind and encountered the stopped vehicle. The truck's driver, identified as Dane Smith, 35, of Redmond, lost control as the woman driving the stopped vehicle accelerated forward to avoid being hit, Rhodes said.
The armored truck went into the eastbound lane, striking a 1999 Suzuki driven by Jose Armando Aguirre Bernabe, 18, of Bend, who was alone in the SUV.
Both vehicles in the crash came to rest on the south side of the highway.
Auirre Bernabe, who was wearing his seat belt, was trapped and had to be extricated from the SUV by Redmond Fire & Rescue crews, Rhodes said. He was flown by Life Flight helicopter to St. Charles-Bend, where he was listed in critical condition initially but had improved to serious condition Wednesday.
The two people in the armored truck were taken by ambulance to the hospital with minor injuries, troopers said. A male passenger, whose name was not released, was in the armored truck's locked rear compartment, and neither were using seat belts, troopers said.
Another armored vehicle and personnel went to the scene to transfer the load from the crashed truck, they said.
OSP was assisted at the scene by Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and ODOT.
Highway 126 was closed in both directions, with traffic being diverted onto 67th Street and Helmholtz Way. One lane of the highway reopened, with flaggers controlling traffic, about an hour after the crash, and it fully reopened shortly after noon.