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Freezing fog, icy roads trigger rash of crashes


Freezing fog iced roads across Central Oregon, causing numerous crashes and also canceled or delayed numerous flights into and out of Redmond’s Roberts Field Thursday morning as forecasters said the region faces several more days of stagnant air.

Close to a dozen crashes, some with at least minor injuries, were reported from the Bend area east to Powell Butte Highway and north to Madras.

The National Weather Service allowed a freezing fog advisory to expire at 10 a.m. but extended its already week-old air stagnation advisory through 10 a.m. next Tuesday, as an air inversion and threat of fog is expected to continue.

“Give yourself plenty of time to clear the windows, as well as deal with reduced visibility and icy roads,” warned NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Bob Shaw.

If and when the fog lifts, depending on location, Shaw said to expect some sunshine and temperatures reaching the low 40s. But areas staying under the fog will barely creep above the freezing mark.

Crook County sheriff’s deputies and Oregon State Police responded to five crashes in the Powell Butte area and south of Prineville, some of which resulted in non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputies responded to a reported head-on crash around 7:20 a.m. at the intersection of Powell Butte Highway and Shumway Road. They arrived to find one of two vehicles partially blocking the westbound lane, said Sgt. Travis Jurgens.

An investigation found that Brandy Cook, 36, of Prineville, was heading west on Powell butte Highway when she lost control and her 2011 Dodge Caliber crossed the center line in freezing fog and black ice, Jurgens said. She tried to regain control but collided head-on with a 2006 Honda Accord driven by Becky Carter, 42, of Bend.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts and both vehicles’ airbags deployed, Jurgens said. Cook was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and later released, the sergeant said.

Around 7:45 a.m., an OSP sergeant came upon a single-vehicle rollover crash in which a 32-year-old Redmond woman and her 10-month-old child were trapped in an overturned pickup along Shumway Road near Powell Butte Highway, a quarter-mile south of the first crash scene.

The sergeant confirmed the child was in a child safety seat and unhurt and his mother had minor injuries, said Lt. Gregg Hastings.

An investigation found the woman lost control of her pickup on the icy road and it went into a ditch and flipped onto its top. No enforcement action was taken, Hastings said, adding that Crook County deputies assisted at the scene.

Shortly after 8:30 a.m., Crook County deputies responded to another roll-over crash, this one on Juniper Canyon Road about three miles south of Prineville.

Jurgens said deputies found a 1999 Ford F-250 on its top in the ditch on the west side of the road, Jurgens said. They determined Casey Shadle, 38, of Prineville, lost control of the pickup heading south and it left the road, rolling and coming to rest on its top. Shadle and his young passenger were wearing seat belts and were unhurt in the crash, which occurred in freezing fog and black ice. No citations were issued.

Around 8:40 a.m., the sergeant responded to another injury crash on Powell Butte Highway near milepost 7. An investigation found a 1994 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Cori Zwicker, 37, of Prineville, was heading south, trying to pass another car on the icy road, Hastings said.

Zwicker’s car struck the left rear bumper of a 2007 Dodge Caravan occupied only by the driver., Hastings said. She lost control and her car spun off the highway and overturned. Zwicker was checked by Bend Fire medics and treated for minor injuries. She was not taken to a hospital, but was cited by OSP for passing in a no-passing zone.

Around 10 minutes later, another rollover crash occurred on the Powell Butte Highway near milepost 4 in Powell Butte amid freezing fog and black ice. Deputies say a 2001 Isuzu Trooper was on its top in a field on the east side of the highway. Driver Keith Belz, 57, of Prineville was heading west when he lost control of the Trooper, which crossed the oncoming lane and left the road, rolling at least twice and coming to rest on its top.

Belz, who had been wearing his seat belt, was evaluated by Crook County Fire medics, then taken to Pioneer Memorial Hospital by a passer-by who stopped to assist, Jurgens said. No citations were issued.

The slick driving conditions began well before sunrise, leading to a rollover crash in rural Redmond, near NE 33rd Street and O’Neil Way.

Niki Anderson, 45, of Terrebonne, had climbed out of the car after the crash and walked to a nearby house to seek help, said Deschutes County sheriff’s Lt Bryan Husband.

Husband said Anderson was heading west on O’Neil Way at about 45 mph and lost control on a curve, causing her 1991 Lexus to fishtail. She lost control and it slid off the south side of the road, rolling onto its top.

Redmond Fire medics took Anderson, who was wearing her seat belt, to St. Charles-Redmond for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Husband said.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, the lieutenant said, but Anderson was cited for driving without insurance. Her car was towed from the scene by Mike’s Towing.

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