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Mutiple accidents, one fatal, keep responders busy

by: COURTESY PHOTO - A car speeding on Highway 47, just under the Highway 26 overpass near Banks, disintegrated after crashing into a bridge pillar head-on Sunday morning. A 49-year-old West Linn man died.Forest Grove Fire & Rescue emergency responders spent a chaotic weekend assisting with multiple accidents, one of which was fatal, while another aggravated a separate medical crisis.

Saturday, July 13, at 12:40 p.m., a two-car accident left six people injured at the intersection of Highway 6 and Northwest Gales Creek Road.

Forest Grove resident Joel Silva, 18, was cited for failure to bbey a traffic control device and minor in possession of alcohol, though alcohol is not believed to be contributing factor, officials said.

Silva was driving nine friends in a GMC extended-cab pickup with four occupants in the bed of the truck. He attempted to turn left onto Highway 6, but pulled into the path of a Volvo. The impact rotated both cars and the four passengers in the bed of the pickup were ejected into bushes and grass nearby. They and the two Volvo occupants were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.by: COURTESY PHOTO - Safety personnel investigate a crash on Highway 6 Saturday afternoon. On FGF&Rs Facebook page, Public Information Officer Dave Nemeyer noted that four of the injured youth were riding unrestrained in the back of a pickup truck and ejected into the brush and blackberries. None of them had life-threatening injuries, he said, but they all just as easily could have perished today.

Meanwhile, the road closure during the four-hour investigation caused problems for a stroke victim who was being rushed to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in a car.

When the car was blocked by the road closure, FGF&R personnel treated the victim until an ambulance arrived to finish the trip.

Less than 24 hours later, at 7 a.m. Sunday, July 14, an off-duty police officer discovered a fatal crash on Highway 47, under the Highway 26 overpass just north of Banks. There were no eyewitnesses, but it appears West Linn resident Rodger Hepburn, 49, was driving alone at high speeds when his vehicle struck a bridge pillar head-on, splitting the car apart, according to officials.

Hepburn was dead at the scene. The highway was closed for six hours for an investigation and cleanup.

Oregon State Police troopers from the Banks and St. Helens offices are investigating.

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