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Jan-04-2009 01:31printcomments

One Person Dies in Fiery Crash East of Scottsburg (PHOTO UPDATE)

The vehicle that caught fire was extensively damaged and its unidentified operator was deceased at the scene.

Fatal crash

(SCOTTSBURG, Ore.) - Oregon State Police troopers are investigating a Saturday afternoon four-vehicle fatal traffic crash that left one person dead and six others injured on Highway 38 east of Scottsburg in Douglas County.

The victim's vehicle caught fire and has not been identified, Oregon State Police Spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings said. Saturday at 2:49 PM, OSP received a report of a multi-vehicle traffic crash on Highway 38 near milepost 20, Hastings said.

OSP Sergeant Lynn Withers says the preliminary investigation indicates a Toyota Sequoia driven by 72-year old John Flaxel of Coos Bay, was westbound on Highway 38 approaching three eastbound vehicles when it crossed the centerline and sideswiped the first vehicle, a Ford F150 pickup, driven by 50-year old Konrad Kennelly of Port Angeles, Washington.

"After sideswiping the pickup, the Toyota continued into the eastbound lane and collided head-on with a second vehicle causing it to land off the highway were it caught fire," Withers said.

A third eastbound vehicle, a Chrysler minivan driven by 59-year old Shirley A. Powell of Sutherlin, saw the collision and steered to the right to avoid the Toyota. The minivan came to a stop off the highway in a ditch.

Withers says the vehicle that caught fire was extensively damaged. Its unidentified operator was deceased at the scene.

The Ford F150 pickup came to a stop overturned in the middle of the highway.

Kennelly and passenger, 50-year old Martha Xitco of Port Angeles, Washington, received minor injuries and were transported by ambulance to Bay Area Hospital in Reedsport.

John Flaxel accompanied an OSP trooper to Bay Area Hospital for an evaluation where it was discovered he was bleeding internally. He is to be transported to a Eugene-area hospital by air ambulance.

His passenger/wife, Joy Flaxal, was transported by air ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital at RiverBend in Eugene.

Shirley Powell and passenger/husband 59-year old Evert Powell, were transported with minor injuries by ambulance to Bay Area Hospital.

OSP troopers from the Roseburg Area Command office are continuing the investigation with the assistance of an OSP crash reconstructionist.

Highway 38 was closed 3 hours before being opened to one lane. Highway conditions at the time of the crash were wet, Withers said.

Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Elkton Fire Department, Scottsburg Fire Department and ODOT assisted at the scene. The medical examiner will help identify the victim.

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