A man was flown by Life Flight to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in the Tri-Cities after he was struck by a car while walking across Highway 395 at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Police at the scene would not release his name until notifying family, and couldn’t confirm his exact injuries.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Seth Cooney said the man was crossing Highway 395 around Bensel Road from west to east and crossed as a white Toyota sedan, driven by Ralph Lortie of Stanfield, was heading north. The car hit the pedestrian, and he was thrown to the shoulder of the road.
Lortie said he saw the pedestrian but couldn’t avoid the collision.
“He started walking across the street, and stopped right there on the [median] and looked at the car,” Lortie said. “I was almost to a stop, and he walked right out in front of me. He rolled off my hood, and before he hit the ground, I was at a dead stop.”
Lortie said he wasn’t sure if the man was on his cell phone, but he didn’t seem to realize what was happening.
“It appeared that he looked at me,” he said.
Lortie said he wasn’t sure if the man was conscious after the accident.
“He was rolling his head a little bit, but as far as conscious, I can’t confirm or deny that,” Lortie said.
The incident was caught on video by a truck driver about 500 feet behind the Toyota, who had a dashboard camera. Viktor Tarasov downloaded the video for officers.
The video shows the white car approaching the pedestrian, and then the man getting tossed to the side of the road. The white car, as well as a few vehicles driving near it, immediately pulled over.
Northbound traffic was funneled into the left lane, and southbound traffic was moving normally. The entire highway from Bensel Road to 730 was shut down while the Life Flight helicopter landed on 395 to pick up the injured man. The highway was back open as of 2:30 p.m.
Contact Jayati Ramakrishnan at 541-564-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org