Deputies pull driver from flaming car
A wrong way driver crashed on Highway 26 early Wednesday morning, causing his car to burst into flames.
Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies cut the man's seatbelt and pulled him from the burning car while other deputies attempted to put out the fire.
Washington County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kevin Weisenfluh was driving east on Highway 26 near the Highway 217 interchange around 2:39 a.m. when he saw headlights coming toward him on the highway. He turned on his overhead lights to try to warn the wrong-way driver.
The driver drove toward the police car lights, Weisenfluh said, forcing him to swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on crash.
The driver crashed into the center barrier and the support posts for an overhead sign near Highway 26 and Southwest Murray Boulevard.
Deputy Mark Shah was the first to the crash scene and ran to the car, which was heavily damaged. As he got close, the engine compartment caught fire and flames were shooting into the passenger area. Shah grabbed his fire extinguisher and used it on the engine. When the extinguisher was used up, he cut the driver's seatbelt and tried to pull him free.
Deputy Jason Waterbury and Deputy Gary Upton arrived and used their fire extinguishers, which had little effect on the flames. Waterbury and Shah then worked together to pull the driver out of the car and away from the fire.
The driver — whose identity has not been released — was unconscious and bleeding heavily when they pulled him out, deputies said. He regained consciousness at the scene. Multiple deputies and officers were on scene at that point and helped provide medical care for the driver while others helped put the fire out and block the highway.
The driver's blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit. The Beaverton Police Department is the lead investigating agency for the crash.
"I'm very proud of everyone on scene, including Deputies Shah, Waterbury and Upton, for their quick and heroic actions to rescue the trapped, injured driver from his burning vehicle," Sheriff Pat Garrett said. "We are all glad no other injuries resulted from a very serious traffic crash caused by an apparent intoxicated driver. My thanks to the Beaverton Police Department and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for their terrific response and investigation."