Three Warm Springs men were injured, one critically, when the driver turned an SUV in front of a semi-truck on Highway 97 at the north end of Madras Tuesday afternoon, Oregon State Police said.
Troopers said Wednesday that “alcohol is being investigated as a contributing factor” involving the driver of the Chevy Trail Blazer, Justin L. Miller, 31.
Miller and passengers Grant Smith, 56, and Coby Tewee, 26, were flown by air ambulance to St. Charles Bend, where Smith was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon and the other two men were in fair condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Around 3:45 p.m., Miller’s Blazer was heading north on Highway 97 and trying to turn west (left) onto NE Jefferson Street, troopers said.
Miller turned in front of an oncoming semi truck driven by Rodney Jantzen, 61, of Artois, California. The impact of that crash sent the SUV back into the northbound lane, where it was hit by a second semi-truck driven by Kamalpreet Mann, 22, of Yuba City, California.
Smith was not wearing a seat belt, and use by the other men in the SUV was pending confirmation, Troopers said. The truck drivers, who were unhurt, both were wearing seat belts, they added.
Three people were injured, at least one critically in a crash between an SUV and semi-truck on Highway 97 at the north end of Madras, Oregon State Police reported.
Troopers, assisted by Jefferson County sheriff's deputies and Madras police, were investigating the crash.
Names and other details were due for release later Tuesday, after the on-scene investigation is completed, troopers said.
Around 3:40 p.m., a sport utility vehicle with three occupants was involved in a collision with a commercial truck on Highway 97 in the area of NE Jefferson near milepost 91, troopers said.
The SUV was also involved in a secondary impact with another truck before all three vehicles came to a stop.
Three occupants in the SUV were injured, at least one critically. They were being transported to area hospitals.
OSP and local law enforcement area assisted at the scene by fire personnel and ODOT. The highway was blocked for a time and the southbound lane remained blocked about two hours later; the road was fully reopened Tuesday evening.