Six people hurt in icy tunnel crash

OAKRIDGE, Ore. - Six people were hurt in a crash Friday afternoon that blocked Highway 58 at the west end of the Salt Creek Tunnel for around two hours.

State police officials said that the crash happened at around 4:10 pm when Tanya Dawes, 41 of Klamath Falls went into the tunnel and lost control on the ice.

Dawes' Ford Explorer ran into the tunnel wall before hitting an eastbound Volvo station wagon driven by 21-year-old Eugene resident Neil Hubler-Dayton, police said.

Officials reported that Jesse Benson, 44 of Lebanon, was driving his Ford Taurus west toward the tunnel when he saw the crash. He spun out while braking to avoid the crash and hit a commercial truck also headed westbound.

Benson, his wife, their three children and the truck driver (identified as Jerry Hatton, 59 of Bullhead City, Arizona) were all taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. Benson was seriously injured in the crash; the rest of his family and Hatton all had minor injuries.

The Oakridge Fire Department and Oregon Department of Transportation helped state police in managing the crash scene. They worked to clear the roadway and opened the Salt Creek Tunnel nearly two hours after the crash.

The location was the scene of a fiery crash in summer 2011 when a motorhome and two cars crashed and caught fire inside the tunnel.