ODOT Worker Saved Man in Submerged Truck
Date: June 19, 2012
Location: Highway 20, milepost 7, near Albany
Names: Dean H. Stillwell, John L. Olsen, Shirley Harrison, Josalyn Lawrence, Pavel Priymak
An ODOT worker almost certainly saved the life of a Sweet Home man after pulling him from a submerged truck Tuesday afternoon. The drama was triggered as part of a five-vehicle collision on Highway 20, near Albany.
State police said a 1996 Dodge pickup towing flat-bed trailer and being driven by John Olsen, 21, of Sisters, rear-ended a 1970 Chevrolet pickup at about 3:25 Tuesday afternoon, near milepost 7 on Highway 20. The Chevrolet pickup was being driven by Dean Stillwell, 56, of Sweet Home, who had stopped on the highway for ODOT roadwork.
After the initial collision, Stillwell’s truck veered across the westbound lane, crashed into a 2003 Dodge Caravan and then continued into a pond alongside the highway. The truck, with Stillwell still inside, quickly submerged.
ODOT employee Troy Elverfeld, 47, of Lebanon, witnessed the accident. Without hesitation, he dived into the pond with a metal rod, smashed the driver’s side window of the pickup and pulled Stillwell out of the vehicle and on to dry land.
According to the OregonLive.com report, Stillwell may have been concussed in the accident, and he was rushed to Albany General Hospital, but thanks to Elverfeld’s quick actions, Stillwell is expected to survive.
The driver of the Dodge Caravan hit by Stillwell’s pickup was 81-year-old Shirley Harrison, from Albany, was also taken to Albany General with injuries described as minor. In addition, a 2006 Kia Spectra also got caught up in the crash. The driver, Josalyn Lawrence, 23, of Lebanon, as well as her two-year-old son, were also transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The last vehicle involved in the collision was a 2002 Volvo commercial truck being driven by Pavel Priymak, 47, of Vancouver, who did not require transport to the hospital.
Olsen received minor injuries in the crash, and he was later cited by state police officers with careless driving.
We would like to wish everyone involved in this horrific pile-up a full and speedy recovery, and we congratulate Troy Elverfeld for his bravery in assisting Dean Stillwell.
As Portland car accident attorneys, we know that filing an insurance claim can be extremely complicated and stressful. After a crash like this, any injured person can seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, or through their own uninsured motorist coverage.
Steps to Take for Filing an Insurance Claim after an Oregon Accident:
- Get medical treatment. If you’ve been injured, waiting to seek medical treatment can greatly affect the value of your claim.
- Right after the accident, write down any details you remember.
- Contact your insurance company and get a copy of your insurance policy if you don’t have one. Talk to your adjuster about using your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for medical treatment, lost wages, etc.
- Determine the amount of property damage done.
- Start keeping good records. Get the police report, copies of medical bills, pictures of your car before and after repairs, etc.
- If you are considering hiring a lawyer, talk to the lawyer before you talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
- If you know you are not going to hire an attorney, contact the insurance company for the other driver yourself. Be honest, but do not give a recorded statement and do not admit any liability.
- Get all correspondence with both insurance companies in writing.
- Do not sign anything until you are done treating and are medically stationary.
- Check the statute of limitations on your claim. For most car accidents in Oregon, the time limit is two years, but this is not true for all cases. In some cases, you will only have 180 days – speaking to an attorney can clarify your time limits.
- Discuss your case with a car accident attorney in Portland who offers free consultations to start understanding the laws that affect your case and your rights as an accident victim.
But before you speak to the insurance adjuster or an attorney, you can learn more about the Oregon insurance claim process in the very helpful book, 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case.
Posted on June 21, 2012, in Car Accidents, Injuries to Children and Minors, Oregon Car Accidents, Oregon Personal Injury Attorney and tagged Dean H. Stillwell, John L. Olsen, Josalyn Lawrence, Pavel Priymak, Portland car crash attorneys, Shirley Harrison. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.