Vehicle accidents, car fires, missing persons and injured visitors incidents fewer than expected

Local law enforcement responded to a handful of traffic accidents and two missing people reports within the last week, but overall, emergencies have been few in number during eclipse week.

"Actually, from my perspective, it's going better than can be expected," Oregon Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Peter Murphy said Friday.

One of the most severe incidents occurred Wednesday as visitors began arriving at Big Summit Prairie for the Symbiosis event.

"Apparently, a gentleman was riding on top of a van and ended up falling off so they had to get him out," Murphy said Friday afternoon, adding that Life Flight was called. "But other than that, I haven't heard very much going on in terms of crashes with folks heading out to Symbiosis or even in the downtown area."

Reportedly, a motorhome tipped over onto its side just west of Ochoco Ranger Station sometime Wednesday.

According to Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins, on Thursday morning, a car had a blown radiator, resulting in heavy steam on Northwest Third Street. Not long after that incident, a crash occurred at Fourth and Deer streets when a driver ran a stop sign. There were minor injuries. Later that afternoon, a turbo on a diesel engine overheated and caught fire on the Madras Highway. There were no injuries in that incident, Cummins said.

A motorcycle crash with a fire was reported Thursday evening at the Symbiosis main gate on Forest Service Road 42, causing traffic to come to a standstill.

A two-vehicle accident occurred on Highway 126 at milepost 10 in Powell Butte Friday around 4:30 p.m.

According to Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Crook County Public Information Officer Vicky Ryan, a 23-year-old woman from Michigan was reported missing by her mother in Michigan when she didn't report in and there were no Facebook posts from her. She was up at the Symbiosis event. Deputies contacted her on Friday and let the mother know there was no cell or internet coverage. Again on Monday, the mother indicated she had not heard from her, and she had not been on her flight scheduled out Monday morning. The woman later found cell service and got a message out for her friends and family.

At 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, Crook County Sheriff's deputies located the child that was rumored to be missing inside the Symbiosis event. Deputies interviewed the child and his parents and determined that at no time was the child endangered.

A crash occurred on Saturday evening on Third Street near McDonalds, blocking the eastbound lane.

On Monday, the Prineville Police Department reported a possible car fire in the area of Highway 26 East at milepost 37.

Ryan said a man ran over the corners of a couple of tents at Big Summit Prairie Monday morning before the eclipse, causing non-life-threatening injuries to a couple of people.

"There's still an ongoing investigation about it," Ryan said. "There were minor injuries that were treated on scene."

She said there have been minimal emergencies at the Symbiosis event with about 10 calls for air ambulance transport out of the event.

"That's only because they were more critical than what their medical crew could handle," Ryan said, noting that as of early Monday afternoon, there had been no fatalities in the area.

"There's been minor injuries, there's been some related incidents, but they've dealt with all of that on scene," she said.

"I have heard of no major incidents, accidents, crashes or anything like that," Murphy said early Monday afternoon of Crook County. "Fortunately, it looks like people are heeding the word that agencies are putting out and everybody is more or less safe."

Ryan agrees, adding that they had been planning this and putting together contingency plans for 18 months, and they knew what was coming.

"We prepared our community ahead of time, and it's just been a really great experience for visitors and residents and businesses. It's gone really well," Ryan said. "Overall, the law enforcement agencies have worked side by side and helped to mitigate any of the challenges that we would face here in this community."

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