ST. HELENS, Ore. (KOIN) — An Oregon State Police trooper was critically hurt during a pursuit along US-30 west of St. Helens, authorities said Thursday evening.
Troopers were pursuing a suspect when the driver rammed an OSP patrol car around 3:30 p.m. near Milepost 31. The trooper, who was identified on Friday as John Jeffries, was rushed by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland and is listed in critical condition.
“That’s pretty sad because they put themselves in danger every day and to have that happen is just tragic,” said Cliff Dove of Kalama.
Cliff Dove’s truck sat just behind the roadblock as crash scene investigators made their way to the dark stretch of Highway 30 where the trooper’s car sat smashed near the railroad tracks.
“About 3:00 they shut the road down, and I heard from another driver who had just passed it that the police could have been involved,” Dove said.
Another driver, Bill O’Meara was on his way to Kelso when he came upon the crash minutes after it happened and said he has been stuck in traffic for three and a half hours.
“What I did see, probably 30 seconds before the crash, I saw a lot of impatient drivers who just wanted to just go sailing past me. I don’t why anybody was in a hurry. All I remember is a white vehicle was sailing past me and within a minute everything was just stopped, so it’s just been remarkable,” O’Meara said.
“All it takes is patience and I have bout 25 hours of Grateful Dead CD’s that I can listen too before I get bored,” O’Meara noted.
No other information is available, including why the suspect was being pursued or the condition of the suspect.
The investigation is being held by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The Washington County crash reconstruction team is at the scene.
KOIN 6 News has a crew at the scene and will have more information as it develops.