Drivers seriously injured, but survive head-on crash

Audrey Caro

Oregon State Police is seeking witnesses to a two-vehicle, head-on crash that occurred on Highway 20 at about 3:25 p.m. on July 23.

Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the crash which involved a red 2003 Kia Spectra, operated by a 17-year-old male and passenger, Lane Barstad, 16, both from Sweet Home. The Kia was traveling westbound on Highway 20 when it crossed into the eastbound lane, according to a preliminary investigation.

The Kia collided nearly head on with an eastbound 2005 Pontiac Grand Am, operated by Francisco Ramos Rivera, 53, and passengers, 7-year-old male and 8-year-old female, all from Lebanon.

Both drivers received serious injuries as a result of the crash and were transported to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The 7-year-old male and an 8-year-old female received minor injuries.

Other than some marks from his seatbelt, Barstad did not have any visible injuries, said his mother, Erin Barstad.

“He definitely had his guardian angel holding onto him yesterday,” she said Monday.

Rivera is at Corvallis Hospital and in stable condition, said Jody Seward, Rivera’s mother-in-law.

“That there were no fatalities, it’s just miraculous,” Seward said. “Prayer works.”

Highway 20 was closed for about 3½ hours, with a detour in place.

OSP is requesting anyone who witnessed the crash or driving behavior contributing to the crash to contact Senior Trooper Oxenrider or Senior Trooper Youngblood at (541) 967-2026.

An investigation is ongoing and more information will be released when available, OSP said.