March 1, 2013
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into Friday afternoon's critical injury traffic crash involving a sport utility vehicle and a tractor along the westbound lanes of Highway 26 about two miles east of Sandy. OSP is asking for contact from any other witnesses including one who was driving a vehicle behind the tractor shortly before the collision occurred.
On March 1, 2013 at approximately 4:15 p.m., a Buick Enclave sport utility vehicle driven by CHRISTOPHER HUNTLEY, age 32, from Portland, was westbound on Highway 26 near milepost 27 in the right hand lane following another unknown vehicle. The other vehicle suddenly swerved to the left lane at which point HUNTLEY saw the slow-moving Kubota tractor ahead. HUNTLEY tried to steer around it but crashed into the tractor forcing it off the highway where it overturned pinning its operator underneath.
The tractor's operator, MATTHEW GRASSL, age 25, from Sandy, was seriously injured and removed from under the tractor by Sandy Fire Department personnel. GRASSL was transported by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center where he is in critical condition. He reportedly borrowed the tractor from a friend and was driving it to his home in Sandy.
HUNTLEY was not injured.
The highway was closed for LifeFlight landing purposes and then open to access for both directions using the eastbound lanes for about 3 hours. ODOT provided traffic control and scene assistance along with Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Sandy Police Department, Sandy Fire Department, and AMR Ambulance.
OSP troopers from the Portland and Government Camp offices are continuing the investigation. Trooper Scott McLeod is the lead investigator. McLeod is urging any witnesses, including the driver of the vehicle following the tractor shortly before the crash, to contact him at (503) 731-3020 ext 406.