A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Canal crash rescue: Here’s what happened

Written February 15th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The end of the Santiam Canal, where the crash happened early last Sunday.

We now have an account of what happened when a car with three people inside crashed through the fence at Third Avenue and Vine Street and landed upside down in the Santiam Canal.

On Facebook Monday, Albany police posted photos of the crash site and recovery of the car. I was reminded of this when I went past the scene on a Tuesday bike ride and saw the mangled fencing and temporary repairs. And I posted a story here,

Hoping to learn more about the crash, I emailed the police department. Capt. Brad Liles, head of the department’s support division, sent this account today:

“On Sunday morning, 2/11/2024, at 2:11 a.m., APD responded to a crash in the water canal at SW 3rd (and) Vine Street. A 2017 Toyota Highlander drove through the fence into the canal, on the south side of 3rd Avenue, landing upside down, with the vehicle facing downstream (north) toward the Calapooia River. The vehicle came to rest partially submerged with strong canal current flowing through the vehicle. There were three occupants in the vehicle (1 adult male and 2 adult females), all of them Albany residents. 

“Albany police officers pulled the first person to safety using a throw rope and pulled her up to safety on the west side of the canal wall.  Albany Fire personnel arrived and took over rescue efforts, removing the other two occupants (adult male passenger and adult female driver) from the canal. 

“The driver of the vehicle was a 34-year-old female from Albany. She was transported to Samaritan Albany General Hospital for treatment. The two passengers in the vehicle did not appear to suffer any injuries. Alcohol was a contributing factor in this vehicle crash. The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless endangering, and reckless driving.

In his email, Liles noted the successful teamwork by the police and fire department personnel involved in rescuing the three people from the car. He added a thank-you to AA Towing for “quick professional removal of the vehicle from the canal.”

At the end of the canal, the water rushes over a concrete slope before plunging down to the Calapooia River. Without the work of the responders, this could have ended up as tragedy far worse than a crash. (hh)

2 responses to “Canal crash rescue: Here’s what happened”

  1. Cap B. says:

    Apparently one of the women got out of the upside down car into the canal water on her own. Then the police and firemen must have extricated the other two people from the car and then pulled them from the canal?

  2. david pulver says:

    i quit drinking in 1984. one DUI at the pasadena rose parade was enough for me.


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