LOSTINE — A brief but intense rainstorm was instrumental in a two-vehicle injury crash about 4:15 p.m. Monday, May 11, on OR82 on the western outskirts of Lostine.
Robert Wiro, 71, of Wallowa was driving his 2012 Dodge Ram 3500 diesel pickup westbound out of town when the wet surface obscured the center line.
His pickup veered across the line and into the path of a 2012 Toyota Sienna driven eastbound by Rebecca Wheeler, 67. Passengers in Wheeler’s car were Jessica Barnhart, 37, and Caroline Dawlley, 38, all of Enterprise.
The three women were taken by Enterprise Ambulance to Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise. Their injuries were not life-threatening, according to Oregon State Police. Each walked to the ambulance on their own power after being helped from the damaged Toyota.
“I just couldn’t see the center line,” Wiro said after the crash.
Law enforcement officers responding to the scene commented that heavy rain was falling as they arrived.
Wiro’s pickup nearly broadsided the right side of the Toyota with its right front fender, OSP Trooper Justin Goldsmith said.
Wiro received a citation in the crash, OSP reported.
The impact caused the air bags in the Toyota to deploy. The Jaws of Life were needed to extricate the three women from the vehicle.
Art Brock, who lives on Allen Canyon Loop between Lostine and Wallowa, was a witness to the accident.
“I saw the whole thing,” he said, adding that the rain appeared to be a contributing factor.
He agreed that the Dodge broadsided the Toyota and the latter rolled before coming to rest upright.
“I can’t believe it didn’t kill somebody,” Brock said.
In addition to OSP, Wallowa County sheriff’s deputies, the fire departments from Lostine and Wallowa and Enterprise ambulance responded.
Ellen Morris Bishop contributed to this report.