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Highway 97 reopens N. of La Pine after injury crash

Road shut for helicopter; several crashes in area

La PINE, Ore. - (Update: Adding info from fire chief, photo)

Three people were injured and one was flown to St. Charles Bend after a crash of a pickup and SUV on Highway 97 north of La Pine late Wednesday morning, one of several crashes around the region as snow and freezing temperatures turned roads.

La Pine, Sunriver and Crescent firefighters responded, along with Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies, Oregon State Police troopers and ODOT, shortly before noon to the rollover crash involving a Ford Ranger pickup and a Toyota SUV, La Pine Fire Chief Mike Supkis said.

The crash occurred near milepost 60, north of the intersection with State Rec Road, he said.

Both vehicles slid off the southbound lane of the highway, with the pickup rolling down an embankment and pinning one of its occupants, the fire chief said. That person was extricated, stabilized and taken by firefighters to a Life Flight helicopter for a trip to St Charles Bend Supkis said.

A second person was taken to Bend by ambulance and a third, with minor injuries, was taken by private vehicle for treatment, the fire chief said.

The crash closed or restricted the highway for about an hour.

It was the most serious of several crashes around the region on a day of slick, icy roads and some snowfall.

Late-night snow and rain, followed by temperatures dropping to or below freezing, were likely factors in a string of crashes Wednesday morning, including one at Knott and Scale House roads south of Bend. Another crash was reported about 50 miles east of Bend on Highway 20 east. No serious injuries were reported.

Track traffic conditions at our Trip Check page.

NewsChannel 21's A.J. Kato will have more on the slick roads ahead of a the busy holiday travel period coming up on Fox @ 4 and KTVZ at 5/6.

Meanwhile, Chief Supkis noted this was one of several accidents in the area due to the several inches of snow that fell and roads under winter conditions. The fire Ddstrict wants to remind motorists to be prepared for safe winter travel by following the 10 simple tips below.

#1 Be Prepared. Before going out on the road in hazardous conditions - ensure both you and your vehicle are equipped and prepared for the winter conditions.

#2 Slow Down.  Simple enough, but really - leave earlier and give yourself time to deal with the additional hazards of winter road conditions. But be prepared for winter roads -don’t be that person who is unprepared and then crawls down the highway creating a hazard themselves.

#3 Clear snow and ice off ALL windows. Yes it’s a pain, but it’s not going to blow or melt off quickly. Keeping a broom near your parking spot makes the job much more palatable.

#4 Headlights on at all times- BE SEEN. Your headlights help others see you, so they don’t pull out in front of you.

#5 Adjust your travel time - if you can.  Fortunately here in Central Oregon the sun can quickly help our DOT folks can improve road conditions by mid-day. Check ODOTs road condition website and cameras for the latest.

#6 Balance vehicle weight (I.e. a few sand bags).  Most vehicles are lighter in the rear, even 4x4s. Balancing weight greatly improves handling and predictability in slick environments.

#7 Have winter survival gear in your car. (I.e. flashlight, cell phone, snow boots, gloves, hat). Be prepared to walk a mile if you need to.

#8 Consider siping your tires. Those extra little edges cut into the tread – really help especially on pack snow and ice – conditions when vehicles most often lose control.

#9 Carry and use tire chains. For traction in extreme conditions and when going over the passes.

#10 Consider snow tires on all four wheels – Help in deeper snow and slush. Put on all four wheels -  for balance, steering, and braking. Use tires with studs or the newer studless - based on your own preferences and driving needs.


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