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Fatigue May Have Caused Four-Car Crash


Date: July 15, 2010
Location: Highway 30 near Warren, Oregon
Names: Michael E. Church, Julia A. Rice, Lisa K. Patterson, John M. Yaskovic

Three people were injured in a chain-reaction four-car crash on July 15, 2010, around 3:05 PM, on Highway 30 near Warren, Oregon, according to an OSP press release, and troopers are looking into the possibility of drowsy driving as a contributing factor.

The crash started when a southbound Honda Civic driven by John M. Yaskovic, 67, of Carlton, crossed the highway and entered oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes, where it struck a Ford Explorer driven by Michael E. Church, 35, of Deer Island. The impact caused the Ford Explorer to spin around, and it hit a Honda Accord driven by Julia A. Rice, 32, of Scappoose, before flipping over several times and landing on its wheels in the northbound lanes. The Honda Civic then crashed head-on into a Chevrolet Cobalt driven by Lisa K. Patterson, 45, of Aloha.

Yaskovic and Patterson both sustained serious injuries, and were taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Church had minor injuries. He was treated and released from Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

Rice and her 7-year-old daughter were not taken to a hospital.

All involved drivers were wearing safety restraints.

State police are continuing to investigate, including the possibility that driver fatigue may have contributed.

We send our thoughts to everyone involved in this crash, with special prayers to Yaskovic and Patterson as they recover. We also send wishes to Church, and our hopes that there will be no lasting problems from this crash. And we send Rice and her 7-year-old daughter our very best; we are so glad you escaped without serious injuries, and we hope you are doing well now.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue accounts for thousands of crashes each year. NHTSA data in 1996 showed that driver drowsiness contributed to around 56,000 crashes per year, resulting in a yearly average of 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. The agency further noted that these figures are low due to under reporting.

Risks for drowsy driving include sleep loss, driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., driving a substantial number of hours in one day, driving in the mid-afternoon hours (especially for older drivers), and driving for long periods without taking a break. The use of sedating medication, including over-the-counter drugs, can also add to the risk, as can alcohol, as well as untreated or undiagnosed sleep disorders. These factors are cumulative; if more than one applies, the risk is even higher.

How to Avoid Drowsy Driving

  • Plan to get sufficient sleep.
  • Do not drink any alcohol at all when you are tired.
  • Limit driving between midnight and 6 AM.
  • If you become sleepy, stop driving immediately. Let a passenger drive, or pull over and get adequate sleep before driving again.
  • In the short term, it can help to take a 15 to 20-minute nap and drink two cups of coffee.
  • Do not rely on opening a window or turning up the radio. There is no evidence that these work.

Many questions arise out of a car crash. And unfortunately, our minds don’t often focus on recovering; they usually go directly to the financial – medical bills, insurance policies, lost wages. How will you and your family get through it? Fortunately, victims have resources. That’s why we’re here. We’re not ambulance chasers; we’re Oregon car accident lawyers who feel it is our duty to help injured people deal with the insurance companies, so that you can focus on healing. And the first thing you should do after getting the medical help you need is to go to our website – not to give us your business, but to read our free tips, download helpful documents, or request a free copy of our book. And if that’s not enough, you can always contact our Portland, Oregon personal injury attorneys to ask us any questions.