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Sep-22-2009 10:46printcomments

Police Investigate Critical Injury Traffic Crash Near Rainier (PHOTOS)

Highway 30 was closed to one lane for about two hours.
Photos of crash scene: Oregon State Police

(RAINIER, Ore.) - Oregon State Police are continuing their investigation into Monday afternoon's serious injury three vehicle crash on Highway 30 about ten miles west of Rainier. Critically injured in this crash were Eric Hendricks, Captain of the Portland Police Bureau's Traffic Division, and his wife.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Monday at approximately 5:00 p.m. a Plymouth Voyager van driven by 47-year old Jeffrey L. Ledgett of Clatskanie, was westbound on Highway 30 near milepost 57 when it swerved into the eastbound lane.

An eastbound Pontiac Sunfire driven by 24-year old Justin M. Aldrich of Castle Rock, Washington drove toward the eastbound shoulder ditch to avoid the van.

A BMW passenger car driven by 54-year old Eric Hendricks who was accompalied by his 52-year old wife, Nadine Hendricks, was following the Pontiac and also tried to avoid the oncoming van by steering toward the right shoulder.

The van collided into the BMW's driver side causing it to come to a rest on its passenger side on the eastbound shoulder.

Both occupants of the BMW were trapped and critically injured. They were extricated by personnel from Columbia River Fire & Rescue then transported initially by ambulance to St. Johns Hospital in Longview, Washington. Eric Hendricks was transferred by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and his wife was taken by LifeFlight to Oregon Health Sciences University. Both remain in intensive care this morning.

Lidgett was transported by ambulance to St. Johns Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He told the investigating trooper that he swerved to avoid what-he-thought were deer moving toward his traffic lane from the highway shoulder.

Aldrich was not transported from the scene but indicated he was to go to a hospital for a checkup. After initially driving into the eastbound ditch, the Pontiac traveled across the three traffic lanes and crashed into the westbound ditch where it came to rest on the westbound side of Highway 30.

All occupants were reported to be using safety restraints.

Highway 30 was closed to one lane for about two hours.

Oregon State Police troopers from the St. Helens work site are continuing the investigation. Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Clatskanie Police Department, Columbia River Fire & Rescue and ODOT assisted at the scene.

Captain Hendricks is a 23-year veteran with the Portland Police Bureau and has been in charge of the Traffic Division since 2008.

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