Truck Crashes on U.S. 30, Injures Two

Date: December 28, 2009
Location: U.S. Highway 30, Astoria, Oregon
Names: Wesley James Garrett, Frank F. Boncz, Stanley C. Baller, Jr., Jamie Bryan Pellham

Icy roads may have contributed to a crash December 28, 2009, on U.S. Highway 30 near Svensen Junction, in Astoria, Oregon, in which two people were injured.

According to The Daily Astorian, the crash occurred around 6 AM when Stanley C. Baller, Jr., 38, of Clatskanie, attempted to pass a bus and lost control of his truck. The truck spun around, and its passenger side hit several large trees.

Two passengers seated on the right side of the truck, Wesley James Garrett, 19, of Rainier, and Frank F. Boncz, 51, of Clatskanie, suffered broken bones and other injuries. They were transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, then airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for further treatment.

The driver, Baller, and a third passenger, Jamie Bryan Pellham, 33, of Rainier, were unhurt.

Oregon State Police, Knappa Fire District, and Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

We send our personal wishes and thoughts to Garrett and Boncz. We hope your recovery is a quick one.

With the holidays just behind us, there could be snow ahead. It is always important to watch out for ice on the road. The Oregon Department of Transportation, in “Winter Driving Can Be Tricky,” warns that better cars, better roads, and better tires don’t take the place of careful driving.

Among ODOT’s tips:

•    In snow or fog, drive with your low beams on. And keep headlights clean – dirty headlights can cut visibility in half.
•    Keep a good grip on the steering wheel. Do not make sudden turns; if you skid, correct your car using a light touch.
•    Increase following distance, then increase it some more. ODOT recommends at least three times the normal following distance in snow or ice.
•    Plan ahead for intersections.
•    If you find yourself skidding, ease your foot off the accelerator. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch. While keeping your foot off the brake, steer the same direction your car’s rear end is skidding.
•    If you hit a patch of ice, ease up on the accelerator and let your car “roll” through.
•    Remember that posted speed limits are meant for dry conditions, not rain, snow, sleet, or ice. Slow down during winter weather.

What if, despite your careful driving, you – or someone you love – is injured in a car crash? You probably have lots of questions, and we can help you answer many questions at no charge. Or order our free book, 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case.