Prineville woman hurt in odd O'Neil Hwy. crash

Deputies say right-rear wheel sheared off

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A Prineville woman was flown to a Bend hospital for treatment Sunday after her car's right-rear wheel sheared off and it crashed on its side in a field off NW O'Neil Highway, Crook County sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies and Crook County Fire and Rescue medics responded around 11:30 a.m. to the crash at milepost 11 on the highway, or about six miles west of Prineville, said Sgt. James Savage.

They arrived to find Merike King, 51, trapped in her red 1998 Chevy Lumina, which was lying on the driver side, Savage said.

Medics used extrication tools to free her from the car, he said.

O'Neil Highway was closed for about 15 minutes so an AirLink helicopter could land. King was flown to St. Charles-Bend, where a nursing supervisor said she was treated for her injuries and released.

Savage said an investigation determined the right-rear wheel had sheared off from the car, causing it to leave the road.

No citations were issued, Savage said.

Deputy Ryan Seaney said the wheel "sheared off at the axle," and part of the axle was still bolted on at the wheel's hub.

"I've never seen anything like it - very unusual," he said.

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