A Mt. Angel man was killed and seven people were injured, three seriously, in a three-car crash early Sunday afternoon on Highway 20 near Santiam Pass, blocking the highway for close to two hours, Oregon State Police reported.
Troopers said a 2008 Ford Focus driven by Ellen Freddi, 34, of Jefferson, Oregon, was heading east on Highway 20 near milepost 81 around 12:35 p.m. when she lost control on the wet roadway and her car struck the guardrail on the south side of the highway.
The Ford then continued into the oncoming, westbound lane, where it collided nearly head-on with a 2007 Honda Accord with four occupants, OSP said.
The Honda then spun broadside and then was struck on the driver’s side by a 2009 Toyota RAV SUV with two occupants, they said.
The Honda’s driver, identified Monday as Joshua James Shepherd, was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said.
His 32-yeare-old wife, Jennifer Shepherd, 32, and two children, ages 4 and 1, initially were taken to St. Charles Bend.
Jennifer Shepherd and her 4-year-old son, Liam Shepherd, were later flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Randall Children's Hospital in Portland. A hospital spokesman said Jennifer Shepherd was in serious condition and Liam Shepherd was in good condition.
Troopers said the 1-year-old daughter reportedly was unhurt.
Freddi and her passengers, Lindsey Hammons-Williams, 29, and Vanesa Silva, 31, also both of Jefferson, were taken to St. Charles Bend with injuries believed to be non-life-threatening, troopers said - although Hammons-Williams, asleep in the rear seat, was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car.
Freddi and Hammons-Williams were treated and released from thehospital, while Silva remained in fair condition at the hospital Monday, a spokeswoman said.
The Toyota RAV’s driver, Steven A. Warner, 59, of Beaverton, and passenger Rosalie Warner, 55, were treated at the scene but not taken to the hospital, troopers said. Both reportedly went to a doctor later for treatment of minor injuries.
Other than Hammons-Williams, all of the occupants reportedly were using seat belts, Troopers said.
The occupants taken by AirLink and Life Flight helicopters, and Sisters and Camp Sherman ambulances to the Bend hospital.
OSP troopers from Bend, Madras and La Pine offices responded to the scene. OSP was assisted at the scene by the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District, ODOT and medics from a National Guard until traveling through the area.
"OSP extends their thanks to the National Guard personnel and other citizens who stopped to help the injured at this tragic crash prior to the arrival of emergency first responders," troopers said.
Chris Miller posted to KTVZ.COM's comment thread that he pulled two children out of the car, while his cousin removed the woman, "and it was very hard to maintain composure with the tragedy."
Miller said several motorists in the area stepped in to help, including medical professionals from nurses to respiratory therapists, and others helped Guard medics in unit HHC 2/162 unload their ambulance to get to their aid bags.
"Emergency crews arrived as fast as they could, but it was a collection of 'civilians' ... who helped the victims," he wrote.
The highway was closed until the injured parties were removed, causing a backup several miles in each direction, with no detour available. One lane reopened with a flagger by 3 p.m. and one lane in each direction an hour later.