A large passenger van carrying an Idaho youth group crashed Thursday afternoon near the intersection of interstates 82 and 84 outside Hermiston. Eleven people were in the van, and two were flown to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland with serious injuries.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Seth Cooney said the vehicle, a 2000 Ford Econoline, was driven by Largent Reeb, 28, of Lewiston, Idaho. Reeb was transporting ten passengers aged 14 to 20 who were members multiple Lewiston churches. The van was reportedly traveling to “Generation Unleashed” in Portland, an annual Christian youth conference.
Cooney said the van was traveling eastbound on I-82 around 1 p.m., approaching I-84.
“They were in the fast lane, but they needed to go westbound, so the driver attempted to swerve from the fast lane to make the exit. He lost control of the van, slid off the north shoulder of the exit ramp, and rolled one and a half revolutions,” Cooney said.
He said one juvenile passenger was ejected from the vehicle and two were partially ejected. Other than the two who were flown to the hospital, eight were transported to Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston for treatment — six by UCFD, and two by Morrow County Ambulance.
Cooney said the exit ramp from I-82 to I-84 was closed for more than an hour.
In addition to UCFD and OSP, members of the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Morrow County Ambulance, Boardman Fire, ODOT and life flight helicopters from as far away as Moses Lake, Washington, were on hand to assist.