La PINE, Ore. - (Update: Correcting info on off-duty paramedic, Chevy's direction of travel)
A Redmond woman and a La Pine man were hospitalized after a three-vehicle crash on snow-covered Highway 97 north of La Pine early Saturday morning, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said Sunday.
Deputies were dispatched around 4:45 a.m. to a reported-three-vehicle crash near milepost 157, 1 ½ miles south of Vandevert Road, with reports a horse trailer also was involved and someone possibly trapped, said Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp.
Deputies arrived to find about three inches of fresh snow on the highway and visibility down to less than 10 yards due to the blowing snow in gusty winds, he said.
An investigation determined that a 1998 Dodge 2500 towing a horse trailer was heading north when driver Terry Hockett, 69, of Redmond, apparently lost control on the slick roadway and it crossed the center line, ending up perpendicular to the road, with the front of the pickup atop the guardrail, Vander Kamp said.
Hockett and his wife and passenger, Mary Hockett, 59, were out of their pickup assessing the damage when a 2005 Chevy Classic, heading north and driven by Dakota Just, 21, of La Pine, approached the scene and he was unable to stop safely due to the slick roads, the sergeant said.
Just's car slid into Mary Hockett as she stood near the front passenger side of the pickup and she was struck, trapped between the northbound guardrail and the front of Just’s car, Vander Kamp said.
A 1995 Ford F-250 driven by Austin Kentner, 20, of La Pine, also was unable to safely stop and struck the Chevy from behind.
An off-duty Klamath County paramedic from Redmond, headed to work in Klamath Falls, stopped to provide critical aid to Mary Hockett, Vander Kamp said. La Pine Fire District paramedics arrived soon after and took her to St. Charles Bend with life-threatening injuries, Vander Kamp said. Just also was taken to the Bend hospital, with non-life-threatening injuries.
Hockett was in fair condition Sunday at the hospital and Just has been released, according to a house supervisor.
A horse was inside the trailer attached to the pickup and was frightened but uninjured, the sergeant said. It was later transferred to another trailer and returned home.
Sheriff's deputies were assisted by the Sunriver Police Department, Oregon State Police, ODOT and the La Pine Rural Fire District.
"The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office would like to remind our citizens and visitors that Central Oregon weather can be unpredictable and change rapidly during the fall and winter seasons," Vander Kamp said in a news release.
"As winter approaches, roadways can become snowy and slippery with little notice. When driving in the snow or on ice, please accelerate and decelerate slowly," he wrote. "Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
"Don't try to get moving in a hurry. Keep safe distances between vehicles and take time to slow down when stopping. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads," Vander Kamp added.