Restraints credited with saving lives of those in crash

Oregon State Police say seatbelts likely saved the lives of an Eagle Point family and other Rogue Valley residents, all now recovering from a three-vehicle crash on Highway 62 near Ball Road June 4.

The crash happened just before 8 a.m., when a northbound white 2000 Plymouth Intrigue veered into oncoming traffic, clipping the rear of a green 2008 Honda Element and colliding head-on with a blue 1996 Plymouth Voyager.

The driver of the van, Tika L. Phipps, of Eagle Point, suffered crushed feet and ankles, a broken pelvis and collapsed lungs, said her mom, Diane McCalmont, of Florence. She went to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for numerous surgeries to repair her broken bones. She was released June 19 and will spend two to three months recovering at McCalmont's home until she is well enough to begin physical therapy.

Phipps' husband, Gary Cooper, broke his foot and three ribs in the collision, but the couple's three children, Andrew, 14, Julianna, 12, and Brian, 8, suffered only bruises.

"They were very fortunate to all be belted in," McCalmont said.

OSP Senior Trooper Bill Matson said the day of the accident that seat belts likely saved lives in the serious crash, which closed the highway for more than an hour and a half.

Barbara R. Hanson, 75, of Eagle Point, was headed to work at the Rogue Valley Medical Center's satellite rehabilitation center in Shady Cove and doesn't remember how or why her car veered into southbound traffic.

"I was just driving down the road to work and the next thing I knew the car was just coming in on top of me," she said.

"I was so thankful that the kids weren't hurt and no one was more tragically injured or killed," she said.

Hanson, who was cited for failure to maintain her lane, spent more than a week at Providence Medford Medical Center, undergoing surgery to repair several broken bones in her leg, a fractured ankle and crushed foot. She continued her recovery at RVMC's rehabilitation center and was released Wednesday. She expects to spend the summer in her daughter's care until she, too, is well enough to begin rehabilitative therapy.

The driver of the Honda, Mary L. Carroll, of Shady Cove, and her daughter were released from Providence soon after the crash.

Because Cooper is unemployed and Phipps is unable to work, McCalmont has opened a donation account for Tika Phipps at U.S. Bank to help pay the family's expenses during recovery.

Reach Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail

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