Phone brings rescue for Hwy. 126E crash survivor

But 19-year-old faces DUII, other charges

LEABURG, Ore. - A 19-year-old Springfield man escaped serious injury in a rollover crash off Hwy. 126E in Lane County early Sunday but was left trapped in his overturned car off the road for about two hours. He called a friend by cellphone, and the signal led rescuers to the scene -- and authorities cited him on drunk driving and other charges.

Oregon State Police Trooper Evan Sether said around 4:10 a.m., OSP learned from the Lane County Sheriff's Office of a possible crash in the McKenzie Highway area. They said a friend of the involved driver called police after receiving a phone call from Sterling Buxton, indicating he was trapped in his car after crashing at an unknown location.

Troopers and deputies began searching the area for the crash scene. An OSP trooper eventually reached the entrapped driver by phone and narrowed the search area as 911 operators determined an approximate location from the driver's cell phone signal.

The driver listened for approaching sirens until his car was found shortly by fire personnel shortly before 5:30 a.m. off Highway 126E at Greenwood Drive near milepost 22.

Buxton was removed from the wreckage by McKenzie Fire & Rescue and evaluated at the scene for only minor injuries. Troopers said he using safety restraints and airbags deployed.

Sether said Buxton was driving a Hond Accord eastbound on Greenwood Drive approaching the T-intersection with Highway 126E. He failed to stop at the stop sign, drove through the intersection and went off the road into a ditch approximately 15 to 20 feet deep. The car collided head-on with the bottom of the ditch and rolled over, coming to rest on its top.

Buxton was cited to appear in Lane County Circuit Court for:

* Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Alcohol)
* Reckless Driving
* Minor in Possession of Alcohol While Driving
* Fail to Obey a Traffic Control Device (Stop Sign)

Alcohol, excessive speed and poor visibility related to reported area fog were investigated as contributing factors to the crash.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Lane County Sheriff's Office and McKenzie Fire & Rescue.  The highway was restricted to one lane for about an hour during the extrication process and vehicle removal.

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