Prineville man injured in O'Neil Hwy. crash

Deputies say he apparently reached to turn down radio

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A 20-year-old Prineville man was flown to St. Charles Bend with life-threatening injuries late Wednesday afternoon after crashing his car off NW O'Neil Highway when he apparently reached to turn the radio down, Crook County sheriff's deputies said.

The man was identified early Thursday as Eduardo Pelayo Lopez. Sheriff's Sgt. Travis Jurgens said no citations have been issued at this time, but Lopez didn't have valid driving privileges at the time of the crash. He was listed in serious condition Thursday morning at the hospital.

Deputies were dispatched to the highway near milepost 7 around 4:45 p.m. on the single-vehicle rollover crash, Jurgens said. They arrived to find a 2007 Dodge Caliber off the north side of the road, with the driver still inside.

An investigation found that Lopez was heading east on the highway when he reached to turn the radio down, Jurgens said. The car left the south side of the road and the driver over-corrected, sending it across both lanes of traffic and off the north side of the highway.

The car rolled down an embankment and went over a fence, coming to rest on its wheels.

Lopez was flown by Air Link to the Bend hospital with life-threatening injuries, Jurgens said, adding that he was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and the air bags did not deploy.

Alcohol and speed don't appear to be factors in the crash, apparently caused by inattentive driving, Jurgens said.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by Crook County Fire and Rescue, Redmond Fire and Rescue and ODOT.

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