Alcohol is factor in accident that sends SUV into creek near Rose Lodge
A man is being heralded as a hero after pulling four people from a sport utility vehicle that was partially submerged in a creek after crashing on Widow Creek Road in the Rose Lodge area shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the man and his wife happened upon the crash shortly after it occurred. The man told his wife to call 9-1-1 while he scrambled down the bank and into the rushing current, where a 1999 Ford Explorer was upside down in the creek, half submerged.
“The water was moving pretty good,” said Lt. Dave Carey with the sheriff’s office. “He got the two kids in the car seats in the back out, and then he got mom out.”
The two children, 2-year-old Kylie Gandy and 3-year-old Austin Gandy, and the mother, Amber Lee Gandy, 25, of Grand Ronde, were helped over to the bank, said Carey. “Mom was very visibly intoxicated, and this citizen didn’t find out for several minutes that there was a 6-month-old in the front seat in a car seat. The baby’s now been in the water for several minutes.”
The Good Samaritan went back into the water and was able to get 6-month-old Kameron Gandy out of the vehicle and back to the shore, but Kameron was not breathing and did not have a pulse.
Emergency responders transported all four victims to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City. A medical team was able to revive the baby, but he was in critical condition and was later transported via Life Flight to Doernbecker Children’s Hospital in Portland. He remained in critical condition as of press time on Thursday. The other two children and their mother were treated at the hospital and released.
Sheriff’s deputies, with assistance from the Oregon State Police, investigated the crash and determined that alcohol was a contributing factor. Criminal charges against the driver are likely to be filed by the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office.
Lt. Carey said the family’s rescuer did not want his name released to the public. “This citizen was obviously shaken by this ordeal and wants to remain anonymous for now. We’re respecting his wishes and hope others will, as well.”
Carey added, “The deputies on the scene believe that had this citizen not arrived when he did and taken the actions that he did, the four may not have survived. We fully intend to recognize him for his actions, and we’re hopeful that we can do that publicly, but if it’s privately, that’s what we’ll do.”
Steve Card is managing editor for the News-Times. He can be reached at 265-8571 ext. 224, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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