2 seriously hurt in Hwy. 97 head-on crash near Madras

Driver said she swerved to avoid animal in road

MADRAS, Ore. - (Update: OSP information; two people seriously injured)

Two people remained in critical and serious condition Sunday at a Bend hospital, the day after a head-on crash on Highway 97 south of Madras that sent five people to area hospitals. A driver told Oregon State Police it occurred when she swerved to avoid an animal in the road.

The crash occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday in the area of Highway 97 and Iris Lane, when a maroon Kia Sorrento collided with a silver Honda Accord, troopers reported.

Troopers said three people in the Honda were taken to St. Charles Bend and a fourth was taken to St. Charles Redmond, and that all four sustained injuries which required surgery. 

The Kia's driver, identified as Mindy Cox-Bland, 35, of Madras, was contacted at St. Charles Madras, where she said she had swerved onto the northbound shoulder of the highway to miss an animal and lost control of her SUV. Troopers said there were no signs of intoxication or impairment.

A St. Charles Bend house supervisor said passenger Esther Kilada, 21, of Clackamas, was in critical condition Sunday and Abigail Dowell, 24, of Milwaukie, was in serious condition.

Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 Captain Kasey Skaar said four people in one of the vehicles had serious injuries and had to be cut out of the wreckage by fire crews, assisted by sheriff's deputies and Jefferson County EMS crews.

Two air ambulances each took a patient to St. Charles Bend and another was taken there by ambulance, while another ambulance took the car's fourth occupant to St. Charles Redmond. The driver of the other car, who was alone, was taken by ambulance to St. Charles Madras.

Also assisting at the scene were OSP, Warm Springs Fire and Safety and ODOT crews.

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