SUV catches fire in crash down I-84 ravine; Good Samaritan helps - KPTV - FOX 12

SUV catches fire in crash down I-84 ravine; Good Samaritan helps with rescue

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Photo: OSP Photo: OSP
Photo: OSP Photo: OSP

A driver crashed into the center concrete barrier on Interstate 84, crossed both lanes, slammed through a guardrail and went down a wooded ravine in a crash that injured three people, according to police.

Emergency crews responded to the highway near Cascade Locks at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Investigators said 18-year-old Madeline Hanel of Parkdale drove a 2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer into the center barrier while negotiating a curve.

The SUV sheared a large tree off at the base and the tree came to rest on top of the vehicle.

Prior to police arriving at the scene, Ken Davis, 37, of Cascade Locks, heard the crash and responded to help the people in the SUV.

“I was up there on my property and I heard a big crazy crash and boom and I knew something bad happened. As soon as I seen the guardrail and the trees sticked up in the air, I yelled 'call 911.' Screaming it you know," Davis said.

Inside the SUV, three people were trapped.

“The lady has got blood all over her face, she was trying to climb out through the door so I tried to help her up through the door and she got out pretty good," said Davis.

As he helped her up he noticed a man pinned in the passenger seat.

"He’s in the car, there is no getting him out for like, it is going to be a long time before he gets out," said Davis.

Davis says his big fear then was the car catching on fire. In the seconds after that thought, he says he saw smoke then flames coming under one of the wheel wells.

"Once I seen the flame fire up, I just started freaking out, it was like we got to get a fire extinguisher now, like right now, 30 more seconds that would have been it," said Davis.

A passing driver handed over an extinguisher, and with a few sweeps the flames were knocked down and first responders had arrived.

Davis says jumping into help was the right thing to do and says he is not a hero, but if he hadn't stepped in this story may have been told with a much more tragic ending.

"I hope they are doing good, you know, I hope they make it through alright. I think God was on their side today," Davis said.

Hanel and the rear passenger were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The front passenger was flown to a Portland hospital with injuries described as serious.

Investigators said speeding is believed to be a contributing factor in the crash. No other information was immediately released.

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