RICE HILL, Ore. — The two University of Oregon athletes hurt in a crash near Rice Hill Monday night are recovering and even speaking out about the alleged prank that caused them to swerve off I-5 and crash.
Neighbors in the area were very concerned when they heard about the accident that happened on the Isadore Road overpass. They say the bridge really doesn’t get much traffic, let alone foot traffic, so it’s very peculiar to hear someone did something so terrible from off of this bridge.
Most traffic over the overpass consists of cars and trucks crossing to get on or off I-5. But Monday night, there was other traffic–the trouble-making kind–when police say someone threw a rock bigger than a baseball off the bridge and onto the northbound side of the highway.
Just as Molly Grabill and Chris Brewer were crossing under the bridge, police say the rock crashed through the windshield, hitting Grabill in the face, causing the car to swerve, roll and landing the two UO athletes facing the opposite direction on the side of the highway.
Brewer said in a statement Wednesday, he’s still wrapping his head around what happened: “I am just thankful that Molly and I are alright. It’s really a miracle…It was just a shock when it happened, like something you see in a movie. It’s still very traumatic and hard to think about.”
And as Brewer and Grabill recover, police continue to search for the person or persons responsible.
“This is something we’re taking very seriously. This had bad consequences, but it could’ve been much more worse, frankly. We had some incidences a couple years ago up near Portland in the Valley area, which is what prompted ODOT and the legislature to put a lot of those fences a long those overpasses,” said Lt. Doug Ladd, Oregon State Police.
But in this case, police say the suspect was apparently motivated enough to go up and over or through the barrier some how.
“People have been seriously injured and people have been killed as a result of actions like these, and this isn’t something that should be looked at as a harmless prank. It may be a prank, but it can cause serious harm, which it did in this case,” said Lt. Gregg Hastings, Oregon State Police.
Oregon State Police are still looking for the suspect or suspects that could have thrown the rock off the bridge. If you have any information you believe could help in this case, please call OSP.