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Three Men Credited With Saving Woman in Overturned Vehicle in Creek south of Albany
07/31/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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Oregon State Police and fire personnel credit three men for the key roles they played Friday morning in helping save a Milwaukie-area woman whose vehicle overturned in a creek after colliding with a semi-trailer on Interstate 5 south of Albany. The woman is currently being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a Corvallis hospital.
 
According to Oregon State Police Senior Troopers Huff Meyr and Scott Hite, on July 31, 2009 at approximately 7:00 a.m. a 1997 Suzuki Sidekick driven by BEATRIZ MENDOZA OLVERA, age 44, from Milwaukie, was southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 230 when it accelerated and collided into the back of a commercial semi-trailer. After impact the Suzuki traveled into the center median, traveling several hundred feet before going over an estimated 40-foot embankment and overturning in Oak Creek. The vehicle came to rest upside down in about 4 to 5 feet of water.
 
A Comcast employee, JAY BURRIS, age 36, from Salem, was the first person to stop and help. BURRIS ran down and got into the water to the vehicle's driver side. He reached inside and grabbed an arm, then pulled the woman out who regained consciousness after coming out of the water.
 
Two other men identified as PAUL PETERSON, age 38, from Salem, and JON SILBERNAGEL, age 34, from Scio, ran down into the water to help. Both men reportedly went under water to check inside the vehicle for any other people.
 
Together, the three men were able to flip the vehicle onto its wheels as it was in the water to check further for anyone else inside. They found that no one else was inside the vehicle.
 
A Linn County Sheriff's Office dive team responded to check further in the surrounding water as a precaution to confirm no one else had been in the vehicle when it crashed into the creek.
 
MENDOZA OLVERA was transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Corvallis with non-life threatening injuries. She was not using a safety restraint at the time of the crash.
 
The commercial truck driver, JASON K. BECK, age 37, from St. Helens, was able to safely stop the truck and semi-trailer at the scene. He was not injured.
 
Oregon State Police troopers from the Albany Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Senior Trooper Meyr cited MENDOZA OLVERA for Reckless Driving and No Operators License.
 
Troopers were assisted at the scene by Linn County Sheriff's Office, Tangent Fire Department, Albany Fire Department, and ODOT. Response personnel were to be enroute to handle a small spill from the Suzuki into the creek.