On Tuesday morning, July 12th, North Lincoln Fire & Rescue was dispatched at 2:24 AM to a vehicle on fire with one occupant trapped inside near 3811 Salmon River Hwy (Hwy 18). Arriving crews discovered a fully engulfed van off the westbound roadway in a ditch and extinguish the fire within minutes. One occupant of the vehicle was found on outside of the vehicle with severe injuries and burns, and was transported by Reach helicopter to medical facilities in Portland. A second victim was found deceased in the burnt van.
Hwy 18 was closed and traffic rerouted for most of the morning until Oregon State Police could complete their investigation. North Lincoln Fire & Rescue was called back to the scene at 9:21 AM this morning to assist OSP with a fuel leak and recovery. Preliminary investigation reveals a 15-passenger GMC van, was traveling westbound when it departed the highway and for unknown reasons, striking several large trees and catching fire. The driver has been identified as Shaypher Lee M. HENDRICKS, age 22 from Ellensburg, Wa. HENDRICKS is currently at Legacy Emmanuel in Portland for treatment of serious injuries. The passenger has been identified as Austin M. MAYHAK, age 27, from Union Gap, WA.
Alcohol may have been a contributing factor. Highway 18 was closed completely for approximately 8 hours. Traffic was re-routed onto North Bank Road during that time. The highway was opened briefly a few times to let commercial motor vehicles clear. Other agencies assisting with the crash, Pacific West Ambulance and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies.
More information will be released when available as the investigation is continuing.
Information and photos by OSP and NLFR Jim Kusz