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Sheriff, fire chief ask public for help after near-fatal crash

Daughter of volunteer emergency responders badly injured in wreck

Erika Lee.The daughter of a volunteer firefighter from Warren was seriously injured in a crash last month, and now the Columbia County sheriff and chief of Columbia River Fire & Rescue are asking members of the community to pitch in to help her family pay for her medical care.

Erika Lee, whose mother Michelle is a volunteer firefighter with CRF&R, was left with a shattered pelvis, broken ribs and internal injuries after the car in which she was riding was T-boned on South Bachelor Flat Road in Warren on Nov. 16, according to Fire Chief Jay Tappan. She was hospitalized at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland with what CRF&R described as “life-threatening” injuries.

Lee, 19, is expected to recover, the fire district said, but full rehabilitation could take up to two years.

Tappan and Sheriff Jeff Dickerson appealed for public donations to support the Lee family in a CRF&R news release dated Wednesday, Nov. 26.

“Chief Tappan and Sheriff Dickerson are asking that donations be made to this very worthy cause and hope that at this time of the year just before the Holiday Season people will help the Lee family in their time of great need,” the release reads in part.

The release also notes that Tappan and Dickerson “strongly emphasize that they are absolutely committed to supporting their valued volunteers.”

Both Michelle Lee and Aaron Lee, Erika's father, also volunteer with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office on its search-and-rescue team.

Donations can be made online at GoFundMe in the name of “Erika Lee's Medical Relief Fund,” or else dropped off at the CRF&R administration office at 270 Columbia Blvd., St. Helens, or the Sheriff's Office at 901 Port Ave., St. Helens.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.