A wrong way driver crashed on Highway 26, causing his car to burst into flames. Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies cut the man's seat belt and pulled him from the burning car, while other deputies used fire extinguishers to try to put the fire out.
Washington County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kevin Weisenfluh was driving east on Highway 26 near the Highway 217 interchange. Deputy Weisenfluh saw headlights coming toward him on the highway and turned on his overhead lights to try to warn the wrong way driver. However, the driver drove toward the police car lights, forcing Deputy Weisenfluh to swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on crash.
Deputy Weisenfluh got on his radio to let other deputies in the area know where the wrong way driver was headed. A very short time later, the driver crashed into the center barrier and the support posts for an overhead sign near Highway 26 and SW Murray Boulevard.
Deputy Mark Shah was the first to the crash scene and ran to the car which was heavily damaged. As he got close, the engine compartment caught fire and flames were shooting into the passenger area. Deputy Shah grabbed his fire extinguisher and used it on the engine. When the extinguisher was used up, he cut the driver's seat belt and tried to pull him free.
Deputy Jason Waterbury and Deputy Gary Upton arrived and used their fire extinguishers, which had little effect on the flames. Deputy Waterbury and Deputy Shah then worked together to pull the driver out of the car and away from the fire. The driver was unconscious and bleeding heavily when they pulled him out, however he regained consciousness quickly. Multiple deputies and officers were on scene at that point and helped provide medical care for the driver while others helped put the fire out and block the highway.
"I'm very proud of everyone on scene, including Deputies Shah, Waterbury and Upton, for their quick and heroic actions to rescue the trapped, injured driver from his burning vehicle," Sheriff Pat Garrett said. "We are all glad no other injuries resulted from a very serious traffic crash caused by an apparent intoxicated driver. My thanks to the Beaverton Police Department and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue for their terrific response and investigation."
The Beaverton Police Department is the lead investigating agency for the crash and found the driver's blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit.