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Tire blowout cited in Hwy. 26 head-on crash


A tire blew out on a pickup truck before it crossed the center line of Highway 26 northwest of Madras Sunday and struck a car head-on, critically injuring the driver, Oregon State Police said Tuesday.

Three other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the collision, reported around noon Sunday about six miles south of Warm Springs, troopers said.

“A tire malfunction (blowout) on the pickup prior to it crossing the center line is being investigated as a possible contributing factor cause of this crash,” OSP said in its update.

A 2000 Ford pickup driven by Danielle Thompson, 39, of Redmond, was heading east on the highway near milepost 109 when it crossed the center line and collided head-on with a westbound 2011 Chevrolet Aveo driven by Alexis Bennett, 27, of Vancouver, Washington.

Bennett was flown by Life Flight helicopter to St. Charles Bend, where officials said she remained in critical condition Tuesday.

Bennett’s passengers, Timothy Weeks, 40, also of Vancouver, and Katherine Perdue, 26, of Simi Valley, California, were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Madras with minor injuries, troopers said. A hospital official said they were treated and released.

Thompson was checked at the scene for minor injuries and was driven from the scene by family members, troopers said.

It took about two hours to clear the crash, conduct the on-scene investigation and fully reopen the highway. OSP troopers from Madras and Bend responded to the scene and were assisted by Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and area fire and medical personnel.

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