Crash at county building proves fatal

An elderly man driving a gold Subaru Legacy crashed into a GMC Sierra truck parked in front of the Hood River County Administration building at 601 State St. on Thursday, at 4:04 p.m.

The solo driver, who was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, was later pronounced dead. His name is still being withheld pending full family notification as of press time.

According to County Commissioner Bob Benton, who witnessed the crash, the driver was heading downhill going east on State Street going relatively slow, at about 15 to 20 miles per hour, when he veered into the parked truck, owned by County Commissioner Ron Rivers. A third parked vehicle was also hit when River’s truck was compelled forward.

The driver’s front end was crushed upon impact. Within seconds, Benton and another man rushed to the vehicle to offer aid.

“I could see that something wasn’t right,” said Benton, who along with the other Good Samaritan, peered into the vehicle, seeing the man in a slumped position. Describing what he saw, Benton felt that the man’s movements could have been tied to a stroke or heart attack in progress. Police reports are still underway and confirmation is not available as to any medical cause for the crash.

“This wasn’t a violent crash,” said Benton.

Within seconds, additional passersby stopped to assist the injured man, including some staff from the 911 emergency response call center and others working in the county building. A man on a bicycle and the original witness Benton identified pulled the man from the vehicle and began CPR.

Marita Hadden, Hood River County 911-dispatch director, was one of the first from her county administration office to arrive on the scene, armed with a defibrillator.

“We were here so fast; we heard the crash inside the building,” said Hadden, “But there was already a passerby who started CPR.” A total of five off-duty or non-emergency personnel from the 911 office provided immediate assistance.

The 911 operators still on duty at the dispatch center directed Benton to control traffic around the scene and alerted emergency responders.

Hood River Fire and EMS crews arrived on the scene immediately along with Hood River Police officers Don Cheli and Erin Mason, taking control of the scene and traffic flow.

Continuous CPR was administered by EMS staff who then transferred the victim to a gurney and attempted to stabilize him for transportation.

“This is so sad,” said Hadden. “We deal with this every day at 911 but when its outside your office it is a whole other matter.”

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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