A Terrebonne-area man was critically injured Wednesday morning after losing control of his car and colliding with two other vehicles on Highway 97 about four miles north of Bend. The man's erratic driving had earlier been reported by several people to Deschutes County 911 but local police agencies were unable to locate him before the crash happened.
On July 26, 2006 at about 9:25 am, several 911 calls were received regarding the erratic driving of a 1997 Ford Escort southbound from Redmond on US Highway 97. Officers from Oregon State Police, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Bend Police Department attempted to find the car.
At approximately 9:34 a.m., the Ford Escort driven by Vincent John Trapani, age 61, from Terrebonne, was southbound when it drove onto the southbound shoulder, over-corrected and crossed both southbound lanes near milepost 132. The Ford Escort drove into the northbound traffic lanes where the driver of a northbound 1997 Dodge pickup observed the out-of-control car and attempted to avoid it. The Ford Escort crashed nearly head-on with the Dodge pickup and then also collided with a northbound 2002 Mazda 626. After impact, the Dodge pickup overturned on the northbound shoulder.
Trapani was critically injured and transported by AirLife to St. Charles Medical Center. Safety restraint use information is not confirmed at this time.
The pickup's driver, Bryan Jason Welsh, age 30, from Redmond, was using safety restraints and received minor injuries. He was not transported for treatment.
The Mazda's driver, Walter L. Douglass, age 92, and passenger, Violet Douglass, age 88, both from Bend, were treated at the scene for minor injuries but were not transported to a hospital. They were using safety restraints.
Oregon State Police troopers from the Bend Area Command are continuing the investigation including determining the cause of the crash. Investigative assistance at the scene was provided by Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Bend Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by Bend Fire and Rescue and ODOT.
Highway 97 was closed about 2 1/2 hours during the on-scene investigation.