One of the most dangerous weapons around is a motor vehicle going down a highway with an intoxicated driver behind the wheel. The odds of a car accident rise exponentially when the person putting the key in the ignition is drunk or high.
That appears to be the case in an accident about 50 miles northwest of Portland. Law enforcement officials say the 29-year-old driver of a Toyota pick-up truck might have been intoxicated when his vehicle crossed the centerline and slammed into a GMC pick-up.
The 75-year-old driver of the GMC was critically injured when his vehicle caught fire in the U.S. Highway 26 crash near Elsie. According to a media report, he and his 70-year-old female passenger, both of Astoria, were pulled from the truck by an off-duty firefighter.
The driver “would have burned alive” if the Portland firefighter had not come to the rescue, said an ambulance company employee.
The GMC passenger suffered minor injuries, while the Toyota driver sustained serious injuries in the crash.
Those three were all taken to a Portland hospital.
Icy road conditions contributed to a spate of crashes in the area near Quartz Creek Bridge. No one else was injured, however.
Police said the Toyota driver was allegedly intoxicated when his truck hit a patch of ice and veered to the other side of the highway.
There is never an excuse for a person driving while intoxicated. When they’re drunk or high, their reactions slow and their ability to respond to worsening road conditions is impaired.
Anyone injured by a drunken driver should speak with a personal injury attorney about the available legal options for compensation for damages.