Wet pavement sends teen off road

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.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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