Jefferson County

Idaho teen charged in crash on Hwy. 97 N. of Madras

Driver fatigue cited as likely factor in early-AM crash

MADRAS, Ore. - An Idaho 18-year-old faces reckless driving, assault and other charges after his SUV left Highway 97 north of Madras and rolled at least once early Wednesday, injuring him and two passengers, one seriously, Oregon State Police reported.

Shortly after 5 a.m., a 1992 Chevy Blazer driven by Nicholas Russell of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho was heading north on Highway 97 about 14 miles north of Madras when it crossed into the southbound lane, continued onto the shoulder and rolled at least once before coming to rest on its wheels in the southbound lane, troopers said.

One passenger, Trent Martin, 18, also of Coeur D'Alene, was thrown from the rolling SUV and seriously injured, troopers said. He was flown by Life Flight helicopter to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend.

Russell and passenger Joseph Gillespie, 17, of Dublin, Calif., sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken by ambulance to St. Charles-Madras for treatment, troopers said.

After an investigation, Russell was cited to appear in Jefferson County Circuit Court on charges of reckless driving, third-degree assault, recklessly endangering another person, driving without a license and failure to maintain a lane of travel, OSP said.

While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, troopers said that "Driver fatigue was noted as one contributing factor in this crash."

The highway was blocked for an hour during the emergency incident response.

No OSP troopers were on duty, so one was called out from his home to respond and investigate. The lead investigator is Senior Trooper Jed Rzegocki.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County EMS, Jefferson County Fire Department, Life Flight and ODOT.

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