EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene man died after a single-car crash on Highway 99 just north of Eugene Friday morning.
It happened just after 9 a.m. where Clear Lake Road crosses the highway. The 29-year-old driver from Eugene was pronounced dead at the scene.
Crews were on the scene until early Friday afternoon. The crash shut down a northbound lane of Highway 99 and Irving Road for a good part of the day. All lanes didn’t reopen until about 1 p.m. Troopers and witnesses say it was a tough scene.
Witnesses say it happened fast. Oregon State Police say the driver of a pickup was headed eastbound on Clear Lake Road toward the highway against a red light.
Witnesses say the driver then swerved to avoid hitting another car, slamming into the pole on the southeast corner of the intersection, coming to a stop at the railroad tracks near Irving Road, just across from a Chevron gas station.
‘I’ve seen fender benders and stuff like that, but not anything near what this was…it wasn’t what I thought I was going to see at all,” said Kala, a Chevron employee.
And though things didn’t look so good, employees rushed out to see if they could help.
“I checked it three times and actually watched his body to make sure it wasn’t rising, because I couldn’t just go back to work knowing he was there just laying there…I was hoping he wasn’t dead,” Kala said.
OSP says the driver was wearing his seat belt, but it wasn’t enough to save him.
“It was a pretty gruesome scene because the male driver was ejected, and sometime during that ejection his leg was amputated from his body. So, it was a pretty horrible scene,” Youngblood said.
“Everyone needs to be careful what they’re doing, because he had a wedding band on. He was somebody’s husband, and it’s just really sad,” Kala said.
Troopers say Oregon has about 400 fatal crashes a year. Investigators are still trying to notify all of the driver’s family members before releasing his name.