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Vernonia Man Arrested Following Serious Injury Crash on Private Property
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

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Columbia County Sheriff's Office
Oregon State Police
A Vernonia-area man was arrested by Oregon State Police following a Wednesday evening alcohol-related crash in which he lost control of his Jeep CJ5 on his private driveway, rolling onto its top and injuring three children and himself. None of the children were restrained in safety belts or safety seats and one of them, age 3, was pinned underneath the Jeep's roll bar and later transported by LifeFlight to a Portland-area hospital for treatment of a head injury.
On August 26, 2009 at approximately 8:00 p.m. MICHAEL D. PIHL, age 48, was driving a Jeep CJ5 with its top off on his private driveway at 57645 Nehalem Highway South in the Vernonia area giving three children, two age 3 and one age 5, a ride. PIHL accelerated and lost control, rolling over into a ditch onto its top. One of the children, a 3-year old boy named MATHIAS PIHL, had his head pinned by the roll bar on the ground. The other two girls, RYLEE PIHL, age 3, and JAYDA PIHL, age 5, received minor injuries.
Officers from Oregon State Police, Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Vernonia Police Department responded to the scene with Vernonia Fire Department.
MATHIAS PIHL was transported by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital. The two girls and MICHAEL PIHL were transported by ground ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with minor injuries.
Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of MICHAEL PIHL upon his release from the hospital. He was transported to Columbia County Jail and lodged for Assault in the Third Degree and three counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person. He bailed out early Thursday morning and has an appearance pending in Columbia County Circuit Court on September 14, 2009 at 10:30 a.m.