BEND, Ore. - A Klamath Falls driver who spotted debris on Highway 58 and a taillight off the road turned around, scrambled down an embankment, found a car's seriously injured driver -- then carried and drove him to waiting medics, Oregon State Police said.
Troopers on Tuesday credited John Crowe, 47, for his heroic efforts in rescuing the 18-year-old driver after the early Sunday morning crash along Highway 58 about 12 miles west of Highway 97.
Shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday, an OSP trooper was dispatched from Bend to a reported traffic crash on Highway 58 near milepost 74.
While en route, the trooper was directed to go to the Highway 97/Highway 58 junction to meet an ambulance and the injured driver, who was transported by a passing motorist.
Trooper Josh Nagle arrived at the junction location about 40 minutes later and contacted the injured river, identified as Mark Thompson, 18, of Fort Klamath.
Thompson was seriously injured and taken by ambulance to St. Charles-Bend, where he was listed in fair condition Tuesday.
Crowe told troopers he was heading east on Highway 58 near milepost 74 around 3:30 a.m. when he saw debris on the road and an illuminated taillight off the north side of the highway.
After turning around and stopping, Crowe scrambled down an embankment to the vehicle and found its driver inside, seriously injured.
Crowe wasn't able to get a cellphone connection to call 911, troopers said. Due to the 18-degree weather and the fact that the injured driver said he had been in the vehicle for over two hours, Crowe carried Thompson up the embankment to his pickup and started driving east.
Once he got cell phone reception, Crowe called 911 and arranged to meet Crescent Rural Fire Protection District firefighters and medics at the Highway 97 / 58 junction.
After Thompson headed to the hospital, the trooper went to the crash scene and noted the 2004 Buick had crossed the oncoming lane of travel, left the roadway and traveled about 400 feet on the shoulder before striking trees and coming to a stop down the embankment.
Road conditions were dry, troopers said Tuesday, adding that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
"Mr. Crowe did an outstanding job caring for the injured driver and taking him to where medics could take over and get him to a hospital for much-needed care," Nagle said.