DUI-related accident near Wheeler could turn fatal

A DUI-related head-on collision just south of Wheeler on Sunday afternoon could turn into a vehicular homicide charge for the 24-year-old female driver of a U-Haul truck, according to Oregon State Police (OSP) Trooper John King.

By Ann Powers

Emergency crews use the Jaws of Life to extricate victims of a DUI-related, head-on collision just south of Wheeler on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Hal McMahan.

“They were bad all over,” King said of the injuries sustained by the 35-year-old male victim driving a white Toyota Camry in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 101 near MP Z-46. “It could go fatal.”

King said the identities of those involved are not yet being released pending the outcome of the male driver’s injuries, who was airlifted to Portland’s Oregon Health & Science University Hospital (OHSU) in critical condition. The female driver also sustained injuries, but was released from Tillamook Regional Medical Center (TRMC).

The 35-year-old male driver of a white Toyota Camry is in critical condition after being airlifted to OHSU in Portland. Photo by Hal McMahan.

Emergency teams used the Jaws of Life to extricate both victims.

Officials said the U-Haul driver was traveling northbound when she  crossed over the lane and struck the Toyota. She is currently charged with DUI, assault and reckless driving, King added.

A 24-year-old driver of a U-Haul, involved in a DUI-related collision Sunday near Wheeler, could be facing vehicular homicide charges pending the outcome of the victim’s condition – who was airlifted to Portland in critical condition. Photo by Hal McMahan.

The highway was closed down for about one hour after the accident occurred at 3:36 p.m.

In addition to OSP, Tillamook County Sheriff’s Department, Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue, Rockaway Beach Police Department, Rockaway Beach Fire Department and two TRMC ambulances responded to the scene, according to officials.