Four Injured After Van Rolls Down Steep Embankment Near La Grande
Two people are in critical condition after a van carrying 11 people crashed along Interstate 84 about eighteen miles west of La Grande.
UPDATE/LA GRANDE, OR - Eleven people were injured, including four seriously, after a van pulling a trailer traveled off the eastbound shoulder of Interstate 84 about eighteen miles west of La Grande and rolled down a steep embankment Monday morning.
Oregon State Police are continuing to investigate the crash and they believe that driver fatigue may have been a contributing factor in the crash. The 11 people in the van are members of a Hispanic musical group called "La Estrella" from Dallas, Texas.
According to Lieutenant Mike Turner, on Monday at about 7:40 A.M., OSP Southern Command Center dispatch was notified that a van pulling a trailer crashed off the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 241. Initial information advised one person was deceased and trapped underneath the vehicle. OSP Senior Trooper Marcus McDowell and 7 van occupants who were not seriously injured worked together to lift the van off the trapped person and found he was alive. The van came to rest over 50 feet down from the freeway lanes.
OSP, Union County Sheriff's Office, fire and medical personnel and ODOT responded to the scene. Four people were transported from the scene to hospitals. Seven other people were not taken from the scene to a hospital but were later taken by Mid-Columbia Bus Company out of Pendleton to Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande for medical evaluations of minor injuries.
Preliminary investigation indicates a 2006 Ford E350 van pulling a utility trailer containing personal property, musical instruments and equipment driven by 24-year-old Gilberto Hernandez was traveling from Washington State back to Dallas, Texas. As the van occupied by a total of 11 adult males was eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 241, it gradually travelled off the pavement to the right onto a wide gravel area. The van brushed the end of a metal guardrail, continuing to the right side of the railing and down a steep embankment where it came to rest at the bottom after rolling an unknown amount of times.
It appears to investigators that two people were ejected, one of which was pinned under the van from his shoulders down. After the trooper and occupants raised the van off the man. That man was transported by LifeFlight to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, Washington. Three other occupants were transported by ground ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
OSP troopers from Pendleton and La Grande offices are involved with the investigation. No citations have been issued at this time.
LA GRANDE, OR - Two people are in critical condition after a van carrying 11 people crashed along Interstate 84 about eighteen miles west of La Grande.
Oregon State Police say a van pulling a trailer crashed and rolled down a steep embankment along the eastbound shoulder. Initial reports advised one person was dead and trapped under the vehicle. However, emergency responders quickly got to the person and found they were still alive.
Paramedics life flighted two people to a hospital and two others were taken by ambulance. Seven other people in the van were not injured.