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Driver LifeFlighted from Columbia City crash

Police: Motorist appears to have fallen asleep at wheel


by: PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE & RESCUE - Emergency responders administer to Riley Holcomb, 22, a Columbia City man who was seriously injured in a collision between his BMW sedan and a tow truck on Highway 30 Saturday, May 3. Holcomb was ultimately evacuated to a hospital in Portland by helicopter for treatment.A Columbia City man was evacuated to a Portland-area hospital by helicopter after a collision between the car he was driving and a tow truck on Highway 30 in Columbia City Saturday, May 3.

First responders arrived on the scene shortly after noon Saturday, according to Columbia River Fire & Rescue. They found the “badly injured” driver, 22-year-old Riley Holcomb, trapped inside the wreckage of his vehicle.

It took 30 minutes to extricate Holcomb, according to CRF&R, after which he was transported by LifeFlight helicopter to the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in southwest Portland, Columbia City Police Chief Michael McGlothlin said.

McGlothlin characterized Holcomb's injuries as “non-life-threatening but serious.”

The driver of the tow truck, Richard Lager Jr. of Deer Island, was uninjured.

The crash closed Highway 30 in both directions for about an hour.

“LifeFlight was able to land right next to the crash,” said CRF&R Chief Jay Tappan, who said the rescue operation went well.

The Oregon State Police is investigating the crash.

“It looks like the young gentleman that was involved in the crash … for some reason fell asleep at the wheel,” said McGlothlin, citing preliminary information police have gathered on the crash. “At this time, we don't suspect any substances to have been involved that impaired his driving.”

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Scappoose Rural Fire District and St. Helens Police Department also responded to the collision Saturday.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misspelled the tow truck driver's last name. It is spelled "Lager."