Portland man killed in Highway 18 crash
SHERIDAN — A 92-year-old Portland man was killed Sunday afternoon in a one-car crash about three miles east of Sheridan on Highway 18, near the highway’s intersection with Caleb Payne Road.
The Oregon State Police identified him as Richard Sullivan. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sullivan was riding in a 2013 Audi sedan driven by his wife, Cathie, 67, of Portland. She was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where she was listed in fair condition Monday.
The highway was blocked for an extended period following the 1:45 p.m. crash. Traffic was detoured around on Christensen Road.
Trooper Nic Cederberg gave this account:
As Cathie Sullivan was negotiating a left-hand curve, the eastbound car traveled off the right shoulder and went airborne. It struck a power pole and came to rest off the highway, trapping both her and her husband. She was extricated by Sheridan Fire District personnel for transport to the hospital.
Fourteen Sheridan firefighters responded with six pieces of equipment, according to spokesperson Wesley Rolfson. He said the McMinnville Fire Department also sent a unit.
There was a potential risk of electrocution to rescue personnel and bystanders until a Portland General Electric crew arrived and rendered the lines safe, according to Sheridan Fire Chief Bill Alquire.
“One witness reported feeling a vibration on the ground around the area,” he said. “They had to wait until it was safe before they would enter into the area and perform the extrication.”
It was immediately determined that Richard Sullivan was unconscious and unresponsive, but he was not pronounced dead until firefighters could safely reach the car. His wife was conscious.
“One of the firefighters established a dialogue with her from a safe distance over a PA system,” Alquire said. “We wanted to keep her up to speed regarding what was going on until Portland General Electric got there. She was told that help was on the way.”
Alquire said the first arriving crew noticed bystanders were keeping their distance.
“This was a devastating crash, and a lot of people wanted to help,” he said. “But no one was out of his vehicle and into what we refer to as the hot zone. People were staying away.”
OSP’s McMinnville office is investigating the crash. Speed is not believed to have been a contributing factor.