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Update: Driver Cited Following Monday's Critical Injury Crash on Highway 30 west of Rainier
09/23/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into Monday afternoon's serious injury three vehicle crash on Highway 30 about ten miles west of Rainier that critically injured ERIC HENDRICKS, Captain of the Portland Police Bureau's Traffic Division, and his wife.
 
JEFFREY L. LIDGETT, age 47, from Clatskanie, was cited to appear in Columbia County Circuit Court for Fail to Drive Within Lane (ORS 811.370), a class B traffic violation. The scheduled bail amounted listed on a citation for that violation is $278. As mentioned above, the investigation is continuing.

 
Preliminary investigation indicates on September 21, 2009 at approximately 5:00 p.m. a Plymouth Voyager van driven by LIDGETT was westbound on Highway 30 near milepost 57 when it swerved into the eastbound lane. An eastbound Pontiac driven by a 24-year old man from Castle Rock, Washington drove toward the eastbound shoulder ditch to avoid the van. A BMW passenger car driven by ERIC HENDRICKS, age 54, accompanied by his 52-year old wife, NIKKI (NADINE) HENDRICKS, was following the Pontiac and also tried to avoid the oncoming van by steering toward the right shoulder. The van collided into the BMW's driver side causing it to come to a rest on its passenger side on the eastbound shoulder.
 
Both occupants of the BMW were entrapped and critically injured. They were extricated by personnel from Columbia River Fire & Rescue then transported initially by ambulance to St. Johns Hospital in Longview, Washington. ERIC HENDRICKS was transferred by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and his wife was taken by LifeFlight to Oregon Health Sciences University. NIKKI HENDRICKS reportedly has been upgraded to serious condition.
 
LIDGETT received non-life threatening injuries. He told the investigating trooper that he swerved to avoid what-he-thought were deer moving toward his traffic lane from the highway shoulder.
 
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, two percent of Oregon traffic crashes were reported to involve a wild animal. Five fatal crashes listed wild animals as a contributing factor. Oregon State Police offers the following driver safety tips related to concerns about wildlife being near our highways:
  • Stay Alert. Avoid driving with other distractions.
  • Slow Down to increase your reaction time.
  • Scan Ahead and watch for movement along roadsides.
  • Look for more animals after you see one animal - they often travel in groups.
  • Brake. Don't Swerve.
  • Be ready for animals to change direction.
  • Be watchful and obey traffic signs, including wildlife warning and speed limit signs.
 
At Night:
  • Watch for shining eyes.
  • Use high beams to improve visibility when there's no oncoming traffic.
  • Slow down on blind curves.
  • Pass with care.
 
If you hit an animal
  • If you cannot stop in time, unfortunate as it may be, it is usually safer to hit the animal than to swerve. Swerving may land you in the path of another car or off the road in a ditch.
  • Pull over and call the Oregon State Police or 9-1-1 to report the accident.