Fence boards pierce windshield in crash, two seriously hurt

LEABURG, Ore. -- Two men were badly hurt after crashing through a fence along the side of Highway 126E Saturday afternoon when pieces of wood pierced through the windshield, state police said.

Officials reported that Terry Bekkedahl, 63 of Veneta, was driving a Chevy Suburban westbound with three male passengers when he drifted off the shoulder of the road at around 2:15 p.m. Saturday. The Suburban drove through about 100 feet of fencing along the side of the highway before stopping near milepost 15.

Crash investigators said that several large pieces of fence wood went through the windshield in three places, hitting Bekkedahl and Gus Bradford - a 61-year-old Alvadore man who was sleeping in the back behind the driver's seat.

Emergency crews flew the driver to Sacred Heart at RiverBend with a helicopter ambulance. The passenger sitting behind the driver was taken to the same hospital in an ambulance. Police said both men had serious injuries.

Neil Michael Hurley, 62 of Eugene, was sitting in the front passenger seat and recieved minor injuries in the crash. Bekkedahl's 37-year-old son Erik (from Tigard, Ore.) was sitting on the rear passenger side and was unhurt, officials said.

State police said the highway was closed down for about 45 minutes as emergency crews worked the crash scene. Troopers then reopened the highway to one lane for the next 30 minutes before completely reopening the road.

Everyone inside the Suburban was wearing a seatbelt, police said.