Tire blowout may have caused crash

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A rescue crew attends to victims of a crash on U.S. Highway 26 west of Madras on May 25.Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into Sunday afternoon's two-vehicle serious injury head-on crash along U.S. Highway 26 west of Madras. Four people were injured, three of whom went to area hospitals.

According to Sgt. John Russo, on May 25, at approximately 1 p.m., a 2000 Ford pickup driven by Danielle M. Thompson, 39, of Redmond, was traveling eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 109, when it crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a westbound 2011 Chevrolet Aveo driven by Alexis Bennett, 27, of Vancouver, Wash. A tire malfunction (blowout) on the pickup prior to it crossing the centerline is being investigated as a possible contributing factor cause of this crash.

Bennett was seriously injured and transported by air ambulance to St. Charles Bend. Passengers Timothy Weeks, 40, of Vancouver, and Katherine Perdue, 26, of Simi Valley, Calif., were transported by ground ambulance to St. Charles Madras with minor injuries.

Thompson was checked at the scene for minor injuries. She was driven from the scene by family members. OSP troopers from Madras and Bend responded to the scene to investigate. OSP was assisted by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and local fire and medical personnel.

All lanes were open about two hours later.

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