Three injured in accident


Driver cited on numerous charges

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF OREGON STATE POLICE - Three teens, from Idaho and California, were injured in an early morning accident on U.S. Highway 97 May 15.An investigation by Oregon State Police into the cause of an early Wednesday morning single-vehicle traffic crash along U.S. Highway 97, about 14 miles north of Madras, which injured three people, has led to the driver being cited for several offenses.

On May 15, at 5:08 a.m., a 1992 Chevrolet Blazer sport utility vehicle driven by Nicholas M. Russell, 18, of Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was northbound on U.S. 97 near milepost 77 when it crossed the southbound lane. The vehicle continued onto the shoulder and rolled at least once before coming to rest on its wheels in the southbound lane.

One of the two passengers, identified as Trent Martin, 18, of Coeur D'Alene, was ejected from the rolling vehicle and seriously injured. Martin was transported by air ambulance to St. Charles Bend.

Russell and passenger Joseph Gillespie, 17, of Dublin, Calif., received nonlife-threatening injuries and were taken by ground ambulance to St. Charles Madras.

Following an investigation, Russell was cited to appear in Jefferson County Circuit Court on charges of reckless driving, third-degree assault, recklessly endangering another person, not having an operator’s license, and failure to maintain a lane of travel.

The highway was blocked one hour during the emergency incident response. No OSP troopers were on duty, so a trooper was called out from his residence to respond and investigate. Lead investigator is senior trooper Jed Rzegocki. Driver fatigue was noted as one contributing factor in the crash.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, Jefferson County Fire Department, LifeFlight, and Oregon Department of Transportation.