October 1, 2005
Ryan McAlexander, 18, learned how slippery rain can turn pavement after a long dry spell while driving north on Tucker Road early Friday morning.
He was turning the sharp corner just north of the bridge when his Ford Explorer lost traction.
It spun eastward off the road and rolled down the gulley.
A pine tree stopped it, however, from continuing its out-of-control plunge down the gulley and into the Hood River.
McAlexander, the vehicle’s sole occupant, sat in the driver’s seat while emergency crews worked methodically to remove him from the wrecked vehicle.
Using the Jaws of Life, they cut the roof from the sports utility vehicle and peeled it back like a the lid of a sardine can.
Once they had removed the roof and driver’s door, they secured the bottom side of the steep gulley so when they did extricate McAlexander from the vehicle, he would not slip or fall down the slope.
McAlexander was able to crawl up the slope and walk to a stretcher that was awaiting him.
As he lay on the stretcher, Oregon State Police Sergeant Julie Wilcox asked him what happened.
“I was coming around the corner,” he said. “And I lost traction.”
How fast were you going? Wilcox asked.
“About 40,” he replied.
Personnel from Odell Fire Department and West Side Fire Department responded, along with Hood River County Sheriff’s Department. The accident is under investigation.
Emergency services agencies responded to at least two other non-injury wrecks involving cars sliding off the roads on Friday morning. For tips on safe driving in slick conditions, see Rain Slick.