The driver of a vehicle that left Highway 34 in a high-speed crash on Tuesday reportedly escaped with only minor injuries.
Philomath Fire & Rescue responded to a report of the crash at 11:51 a.m. and arrived to find a single vehicle off the road into the trees in an area near Fircreek Lane. Capt. Rich Saalsaa, the fire district’s public information officer, reported that the vehicle had clipped a power pole and left arcing lines in the trees with a smoldering fire.
The site of the crash was in an area across the highway from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s district office at Philomath.
“Speed was a factor in the accident as witnessed by ODF saw the vehicle proceeding west on Highway 34 leave the road into the ditch before Fircreek, jumped over the Fircreek approach into the air and cracked into the power pole on the way down and landed in the trees,” Saalsaa said.
Fire & Rescue’s response included a truck with three crew members and a rescue vehicle with two more personnel.
“We established a safety perimeter to prevent contact with the energized lines,” Saalsaa said, adding that they “notified Consumers Power, who shut down the local substation to remove power” — a situation that led to a power outage in Philomath.
After the scene had been deemed safe, Fire & Rescue personnel turned its attention to the driver, who was not able to get out of the vehicle because of berry bushes.
“I directed the crew to use a chainsaw to clear a path to the door of the vehicle and was able to escort the patient to the waiting ambulance crew,” Saalsaa said. “The patient was evaluated by Corvallis medics and bandaged up — no transport required.”
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Philomath Police Department also responded to the scene and assisted with traffic control. Highway 34’s westbound lane was closed at first but then the entire road had to be closed. Traffic was routed through the ODF parking lot to Gellatly Way to bypass the area.
Philomath Fire & Rescue also responded on Monday to a report of a car in a ditch near Peterson Road and Southwest Airport Avenue. The vehicle was not found.
Another dispatch sent Fire & Rescue to Monroe’s fire station on Tuesday. Monroe personnel had responded to a bad mid-morning crash with two people entrapped in a semitruck collision with a garbage truck on Highway 99W.
Elsewhere, BCSO responded at 10:08 a.m. Monday to Marys Peak Road where a vehicle driven by a 19-year-old man crashed.
According to a sheriff’s office report, the vehicle was southbound on the road at an estimated speed of 30 mph when the driver failed to negotiate a sharp left-hand bend in the road and crashed down into a steep ditch on the west side. The vehicle came to rest on its driver’s side up against several trees.
The BCSO report made no mention of possible injuries. The vehicle was removed from the scene via tow truck.