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Three Men Rescue One Woman After Accident


Date: July 31, 2009
Location: Interstate 5, milepost 230, near Eugene
Names: Beatriz Mendoza Olvera, Jay Burris, Paul Peterson, Jon Silbernagel

Oregonlive.com reports an accident in which three men saved a driver from drowning after she drove her car into shallow water.

The accident happened at approximately 7 AM when driver Beatriz Mendoza Olvera, 44, of Milwaukie was driving south on Interstate 5 near milepost 230. She accelerated and struck the back of a semi-trailer, then slid into the center median, continuing for hundreds of feet before driving over a 40-foot embankment and landing upside down in Oak Creek. Oregon State Police report that three men, Jay Burris, Paul Peterson and Jon Silbernagel stopped their vehicles to rescue Olvera. She was taken to Corvallis Hospital for injuries and cited for not using a seatbelt and driving without a license. The driver of the semi, Jason K. Beck, 37, of St. Helens was uninjured.

We are proud of Burris, Peterson and Silbernagel for their courage and selflessness, and hope they provide an example and stand as a testament to the goodness of human nature. It is unfortunate that this happened, but we are happy that noone was majorly wounded.

While accidents like this one can seem black or white, a closer investigation will sometimes turn up a surprise.  Some may assume that Olvera fell asleep at the wheel, or stopped paying attention for some other reason.   And perhaps that is exactly what happened.  But there are many other possibilities as well.  Poor road conditions may have caused this wreck – for all we know, there may have been a large pothole that has already caused three prior accidents, or maybe there’s a blind curve with a missing warning sign.  If that is the case, there may be a lawsuit available against the city/county/state.  Such a lawsuit would allow the injured person to receive compensation and hopefully prevent future accidents on that stretch of road.  Maybe the car was recently brought in for a tune-up, and the mechanic replaced the steering mechanism carelessly, and the car lost steering.  These things do happen, and when someone is seriously injured, a competent Oregon personal injury attorney can investigate and find out what truly happened.  Usually at no cost.  For more information on what to do in the case of an Oregon accident, contact our office or read 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case.