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Prineville

Prineville woman injured when rockslide crashes into couple’s car near Cougar Hot Springs

'I see her knee, and I’m like, 'Do not look down! Don’t look down!''

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --Jessica Officer and Danny Lopez were driving back home to Prineville from Terwilliger Hot Springs over the weekend when their car got hit by a rockslide, smashing windows and the windshield and injuring the woman, sending her to the hospital.

“I looked over and (saw) the window broken in front of him, and then I felt the rock behind me. I thought my back was broke or something,” Officer said Tuesday.

Although Officer felt pain in her back, she didn’t realize she sustained a different injury.

“I see her knee, and I’m like, 'Do not look down! Don’t look down,” Lopez said.

Officer ‘s knee had been cut open by one of the rocks that fell from a nearby cliff. She was taken by ambulance to a Springfield hospital, where she was hospitalized overnight and underwent surgery.

The rockslide, in the same area as a December 2017 slide, forced the closure of Forest Service Road 19 near milepost 52, just south of McKenzie Bridge, the Willamette National Forest said on Monday.

People traveling through the Cougar Hot Springs area will now need to travel nearly 100 miles round-trip on an alternate route, according to the Willamette National Forest.

Lopez praised Officer for being able to keep control of the vehicle when the slide hit.

“She stayed in her lane. I was amazed," he said. "It’s scary, because where we were, if you do go off the lane, you’re falling down 100 feet into the reservoir.”

Officer said she has always enjoyed traveling through the area and is glad her children were not in the car with her.

Although Lopez didn't sustain any physical injuries, he's not walking away unharmed.

“Driving past those cliff walls, those cliffs -- I’ll never look at it the same way again," he said. "I’m going to get sketched out, and I’m going to get scared every time I’m next to a rock cliff.”

Accidents and Crashes / Central Oregon / Local News / News / Top Stories
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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.

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4 Comments

  1. Totally unrelated but – today’s survey asks a yes or not question then only gives “yes” options. An example of a survey asking the question to get a desired result?

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