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Driver rescued after plummeting from gorge highway

Gresham woman suspected of reckless, drunken driving


For more than an hour, a Gresham woman remained trapped in her car, wedged between trees along a hillside in the Columbia River Gorge.

Kim McCauley, 57, drove her car over an embankment of the parking lot at the Women’s Forum State Park on the Historical Columbia River Highway near Corbett around noon Saturday, Feb. 9.

She was cited for drunken driving and reckless driving after an extensive rescue effort.

A team of volunteer rescuers from the Corbett Fire Department, along with members of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, rushed to the scene after learning that a Toyota 4Runner had plummeted 100 feet down a steep embankment.

With rescue crews in route, a civilian climbed down the hill to check on the driver. He called dispatch and told authorities McCauley was conscious but complaining of pain and possibly a head wound.

Eventually, rescuers arrived.

They scaled down the hillside and stabilized the vehicle with rope. If the car slipped from the trees, it could fall another 100-150 feet, rescuers estimated.

An hour passed and McCauley still remained trapped in the car.

Rescuers determined her injuries were not life threatening, but a Life Flight helicopter remained on standby near the scene.

After 2 p.m., members of the rescue team, each secured by rope, extracted McCauley from the car and hauled her to safety.

In the lower parking lot of the park, American Medical Response workers helped evaluate McCauley before she was transported to a hospital by helicopter.



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