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Medical issue may have led to crash


Witnesses reportedly saw the van’s driver slumped over the steering wheel before the crash. Photo: Hal McMahan

Police believe a medical issue may have led to a crash in the Manzanita area.

By Cody Mann
[email protected]

At around 1:43 p.m. on May 6, Oregon State Police (OSP) and other agencies were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at milepost 43 of Highway 101. According to police reports, the driver of a white Ford van was southbound when he veered into an intersection and t-boned a purple Hyundai that was about to turn right.

Two different witnesses reportedly saw the van’s driver, who was later identified as 59-year old Stewart Delzell of Portland, slumped over the steering wheel before the crash. Delzell’s van came to a rest facing south and the Hyundai was facing east around 20 feet south of the intersection.

Shortly after the collision, police said Delzell’s van accelerated and pushed both vehicles across the highway and down a slight embankment, stopping facing east. Emergency medical responders found Delzell unconscious when they arrived. He was extricated from the van and CPR was initiated. Radio traffic indicated the air ambulance service Life Flight was alerted and later cancelled.

Emergency medical responders found Delzell unconscious when they arrived. He was extricated from the van and CPR was initiated. Photo: Hal McMahan

According to OSP, medics were able to resuscitate Delzell and he was taken by ambulance to Providence Hospital in Seaside and then to St. Vincent Hospital in Portland.

The Hyundai driver, who was later identified as 54-year-old Delbert Graham of Wheeler, sustained minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to Tillamook Regional Medical Center.

OSP said it was believed the crash occurred because Delzell was experiencing a medical issue while driving, which caused him to lose consciousness.

An OSP crash reconstructionist was called to the scene to diagram the crash. Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office, Manzanita Police Department, Adventist Ambulance Transport and Nehalem Bay Fire and Rescue assisted the scene.