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Drunk Driver Pins Woman to Fence

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A Springfield woman was taken to the hospital after a drunk driver crashed and pinned her to a fence Saturday night.

Springfield police said 42-year-old Steven Birkenbach was speeding down 7th Street when he crashed into a van at a home on Pleasant Street.

The victim, Michelle Slayter, said she was unloading items from the van when suddenly she and the car were pushed back about six feet straight into a wooden fence. Covered in items from the car and bits of fence, Slayter’s brother had to follow her cries to find and unbury her as the driver continued to push on the gas.

Slayter was barely mobile the next morning. She said although her body is badly bruised and she’s in a lot of pain, she’s grateful to be alive.

“I’m very lucky, because when I look back…I don’t know…The spot where I was was pretty squishy,” said Slayter.

Police also linked Birkenbach to a hit and run involving a parked car by the Springfield High School earlier that night. The suspect was taken to Springfield Jail on several charges including DUII and reckless driving.

Family members said that a wheelchair up against the fence was probably what ended up saving Slayter’s life, by preventing her from being completely squished by the van and the car just behind the fence.

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