Photo: Forest Grove Fire & Rescue
Editor's note: Due to human error, this update to an earlier story was not published to our website over the weekend, so here it is now!
Power went out for some residents in Glenwood and Gales Creek on Friday, November 6 around 3 a.m., and crews from Portland General Electric were dispatched to repair power lines after reports of a downed tree on Highway 6 about a mile east of Glenwood, just east of Out Aza Blue. The crews cleared some of the tree debris and determined that the lines were safe.
That’s when they discovered a heavily damaged truck down an embankment, touching the edge of Gales Creek, according to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue. They didn’t notice signs of anyone in the vehicle. At 6:23 a.m., crews from Forest Grove Fire & Rescue were dispatched to the scene after the truck was discovered. When they arrived, firefighters used a rope system to access the vehicle down the steep embankment and found that the driver — the sole occupant of the truck — was conscious and had been trapped in the truck since the crash occurred around 3 a.m.
With assistance from other area agencies, including Banks Fire District 13, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Metro West Ambulance, crews began an hour-long rescue operation to extract the drive from the truck, which was on its side, leaning against a tree, inches from the cold waters of Gales Creek.
After about an hour of work, the driver was removed, brought up the 20-foot embankment using a rescue rope system, and transported by Metro West Ambulance to a trauma hospital with potentially serious injuries, according to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.
The highway was closed for several hours during the operation and subsequent repairs to the downed power lines, causing traffic backups for miles, according to eyewitness reports.
In total, the driver was trapped in the vehicle for about five hours before their rescue. It is believed that the crash is responsible for the downed tree and power lines.
“As weather conditions have began to change with increased rains, it is really important to use caution when driving on area roadways, especially after sundown,” Forest Grove Fire & Rescue said in a statement.