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   Oregon State Police officers are investigating a single-vehicle crash that occured Sunday afternoon on Highway 6, one mile west of Banks, involving a 66-year-old Tillamook woman and her granddaughter.

Both occupants, who were wearing seatbelts, were transported to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center with serious injuries. 

At about 4:20 p.m. Sunday, March 31, Shirley Powers was driving her 2004 Ford Focus eastbound on the highway near milepost 49 when her car drifted across the westbound lane, according to Senior Trooper Mark McDougal. The car narrowly missed a bridge structure and went off the highway down a 20-foot ravine. Officers are still unsure what caused Powers to drift.

Passing motorists stopped and removed Grace Powers, 8, from the vehicle, but they were unable to remove her grandmother. Firefighters spent an hour freeing the trapped driver.

The scene of the accident falls just outside a 15-mile segment – between mileposts 30 and 45 – on Highway 6 ODOT deemed one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in Oregon.

The stretch saw 216 accidents and 10 fatalities from 2002 to 2011 from roadway departure crashes, which are caused by drivers drifting or veering off the road or over the centerline.

According to ODOT’s Amanda Sayler, speeding drivers, combined with winding curves, more-extreme weather conditions and dense trees that decrease visibility all make the stretch extra hazardous.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Banks Fire District 13, and Oregon Department of Transportation assisted OSP at the scene. The roadway had partial to full closure for about 2 hours. 

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