Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax was recovering Thursday morning at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident Wednesday evening.
Truax, 67 -- a former Forest Grove High School teacher and athletic director who has been mayor since 2009 -- was riding his scooter home just after 8 p.m. from a First Wednesday event in downtown Forest Grove, traveling westbound on Thatcher Road, when the vehicle hit a patch of gravel while turning left onto Watercrest Road, said Capt. Mike Herb, spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department.
There were no other vehicles involved, Herb said. Truax was listed in serious condition at Emanuel Thursday.
The scooter may have landed on top of Truax, said Bev Maughan, assistant to City Manager Michael Sykes and a friend of the Truax family.
He hit some loose gravel and it threw him in the ditch, said Maughan.
Truax was transported by LifeFlight helicopter to Emanuel with serious but not life-threatening injuries, including five broken ribs, Maughan said.
Doctors kept him in recovery overnight Wednesday and performed surgery on his diaphragm after he had problems breathing, Maughan added. They also inserted a breathing tube. He likely will be in the hospital two or three days, she said.
City Council President Tom Johnston was at a meeting with Fire Chief Michael Kinkade Wednesday evening when the call about the single-vehicle crash came in. He rushed down to the accident scene and was able to say hello to Truax before emergency responders loaded the mayor onto a rescue helicopter.
I said hi, and they took him off, said Johnston, who has known Truax for many years and worked with him at Forest Grove High School. "I saw a lot of police and a lot of fire [personnel]."
Forest Grove Fire Marshal Dave Nemeyer went to Truaxs home in the Forest Gale Heights neighborhood to get his wife, Pat, and brought her down to the scene.
"[Pete] was LifeFlighted for precautionary reasons mainly to get him to [the hospital] more quickly," said Nemeyer, who has known the Truaxes for many years. "We were looking at some pain areas he was having ... there are a lot of internal organs involved."
The mayor was "conscious and talking to us the whole time," said Nemeyer, who added there was a concrete culvert in the ditch where the scooter landed that Truax "may or may not" have hit.