Bystanders aid driver after vehicle hits pole

An 89-year-old man suffered head injuries after his Ford minivan veered off North Pacific Avenue near Mace Road, striking a power pole.

"We cut him out from the dash," said Medford fire Battalion Chief Rick Rohrbough.

He said the man, whose name was not immediately available, was semiconscious.

"He was able to answer questions," Rohrbough said. "He was in a lot of pain."

The man also appeared to have had heart surgery sometime in the past based on the stitches on his chest, Rohrbough said.

The injured man was taken to Providence Medford Medical Center.

The minivan was traveling southbound on South Pacific when for an unknown reason it veered off the roadway, Rohrbough said. The call came in at 9:21 a.m., and units from Medford and Jackson County Fire District No. 3 responded.

The Oregon State Police responded to the scene, which is between Medford and Central Point.

The driver's-side door swung open during the accident as the Ford minivan struck the power pole head-on. The engine compartment crumpled, and the front windshield was broken.

A large metal power pole withstood the impact without any apparent damage, and power was not disrupted.

Three bystanders rushed to aid the driver to prevent his torso from hanging out of the tilting minivan while his legs were pinned under the dash, Rohrbough said.

"They did good," he said.

He said the bystanders probably held the man up for about two minutes as fire engines arrived on the scene.

The cause of the accident is still unknown, but there were no skid marks on the roadway and rain didn't appear to be a factor, Rohrbough said.

"We just assumed he passed out," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email

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