Driver hurt, trucker cited in Hwy. 97 crash near Crescent

OSP: Semi trying to pass pickup struck it

CRESCENT, Ore. - A driver was seriously injured and a truck driver was cited after a two-vehicle crash Friday morning along Highway 97 south of Crescent in Klamath County, shutting the road for hours, Oregon State Police reported.

The highway was blocked over two hours and one lane was open for area traffic by the afternoon until the scene is cleared. A previous report of downed power lines was wrong, troopers said as they continued the investigation.

Around 10:20 a.m., a 1991 Toyota pickup driven by Johnny Panos, 57, Crescent, was starting to turn left from the southbound lane of Highway 97 near milepost 187 when a 2013 Freightliner truck attempting to pass the pickup struck it, troopers said.

After impact, the pickup traveled off the southbound shoulder and the truck overturned, blocking the highway.

Panos was seriously injured and transported by air ambulance to St. Charles-Bend, where he was listed in fair condition Saturday night. Seat belt use is pending confirmation.

The truck's driver, Daniel Rylee, 23, from Council Bluff, Iowa, received minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to St. Charles-Bend, troopers said, adding that he was wearing his seat belt.

Rylee was cited for careless driving, troopers said Saturday.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Klamath County Sheriff's Office, Crescent Rural Fire Protection, Walker Range Fire Patrol and ODOT. Senior Trooper Russell Decker is the lead investigator.

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