Pendleton High School sophomore Tristan Morris is recovering after suffering life-threatening injuries in a crash.
His father, David Morris of Adams, said the 16-year-old boy was driving Wednesday at about 7:45 a.m. on Cayuse Road when his car ended up in a ditch. An ambulance transported Tristan to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton, then to an emergency helicopter that flew him to Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.
Tristan, 16, suffered fractures in his face and other injuries, David Morris said. His son also underwent emergency surgery Thursday morning in which doctors removed a part of his skull to allow for brain swelling.
Since then, Tristan has shown remarkable recovery, his father said, and is now breathing on his own.
“Now it’s just monitoring him 24 hours a day,” Morris said.
Tristan is a big game hunter and plays baseball and basketball, David Morris said, but the long recovery he faces could hamper those endeavors. Morris also thanked school sports teams, family and friends for their outpouring of love and support for Tristan.
PHS student Cora Theis opened a donations webpage Friday with a $20,000 goal to help pay for Tristan’s medical expenses. The effort raised more than $2,400 in its first four hours. The page can be found here.
The crash was the first of several in recent days that sent locals to hospitals.
Travis Hoeft, 27, of Pendleton, and Jack Mann, 49, of Pilot Rock, went to separate hospitals after a head-on crash Thursday around 5 p.m. near Pendleton.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office in a written statement reported Hoeft was driving a Dodge Ram pickup on Hoeft Road when he crossed into the oncoming lane and smashed into a Chevrolet Silverado. The head-on crash trapped Mann, the Chevrolet’s driver.
The Pendleton Fire and Ambulance Department responded to the wreck, along with sheriff’s deputies, Pilot Rock fire and police and the commercial emergency service LifeFlight. Emergency workers freed Mann and a helicopter ambulance flew him to Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Richland, Washington.
Hoeft also suffered injuries; a ground ambulance took him to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton.
The sheriff’s office did not report information about their injuries. St. Anthony treated and released Hoeft, and Kadlec staff reported Mann was not at the hospital.
The sheriff’s office also reported Hoeft received a citation for careless driving.
And Pendleton emergency crews Friday morning freed another driver. The city fire department responded to the westbound side of Interstate 84 near milepost 225 to assist the Umatilla Tribal Fire Department with the crash of a semitrailer. First responders removed the driver from the rig after extensive work.
Shawn Penninger, Pendleton’s assistant fire chief, stated in an email this was the first time the department used its new extrication equipment to help save a life. He added Pendleton’s fire bond, which voters approved in November, paid for the equipment
The driver was seriously injured, according to the statement, and fog grounded the LifeFlight helicopter. A ambulance took the victim to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton.
Agencies have not identified the driver.