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Dec-23-2009 16:29printcomments

Three Seriously Injured in Crash South of Prineville

State Police issue a warning about holiday winter driving.

Rollover crash near Prineville, Ore. 12-23-09
Photos of crash scene: Oregon State Police

(PRINVEVILLE, Ore.) - Oregon State Police troopers are investigating a single vehicle rollover crash south of Prineville that resulted in serious injury to three people. Investigators have not yet confirmed who was driving the vehicle.

OSP Senior Trooper Gary Martin says this morning at approximately 4:43 a.m., a 2005 Toyota Tacoma four-door pickup with three Prineville residents was northbound on Highway 27 near milepost 3 when its driver lost control on ice and traveled off the highway.

"The pickup rolled numerous times before coming to rest on its side about 200 feet from the highway," Martin said.

One of the occupants identified as 19-year old Taylor Knox, was found by a passing motorist along the highway trying to flag down traffic to get emergency medical response. Knox was transported by ambulance to Prineville Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. Police are not sure if he was properly restrained in the vehicle.

A second occupant was ejected and found unconscious in the field bordering the highway. 19-year old Luke B. Estes, was transported by air ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with critical injuries. He was not using safety restraints according to Martin.

The third occupant, 35-year old Fabian Patino, was seriously injured and initially transported by ambulance to Prineville Memorial Hospital.

He was then taken by air ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. Martin says he was using safety restraints.

OSP troopers from Bend and Madras offices are continuing the investigation. Crook County Sheriff's Office and Prineville Fire & Rescue assisted at the scene. As a reminder, state, county and city law enforcement agencies will be working together with the goal of reducing traffic crashes during the Christmas Holiday period (6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 23rd, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 27th).

During last year's 102-hour Christmas holiday period, six people were killed in 6 separate Oregon traffic crashes. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics, during the last ten years over this holiday period an average of 4 traffic deaths have occurred. OSP troopers arrested 50 DUII drivers over the 2008 holiday period.

Holiday travelers are urged to remember these tips:

* Don't drink and drive ("Buzzed driving is drunk driving"), and don't ride with anyone who has had too much to drink.

* Never use illegal drugs.

* Volunteer to be a designated driver.

* If someone who's been drinking insists on driving, take his/her keys.

* If hosting a gathering, provide non-alcoholic beverages.

* Use public transit or local drive-home services provided by taxis and other companies.

* Always use safety restraints.

* Avoid travel after midnight, especially on weekends or holidays.

* Drive alert and defensively at all times.

* Report any suspected impaired driving by calling 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or 9-1-1.

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