LA GRANDE, Oregon -- Oregon state police say 11 men were injured, including four seriously, after a van pulling a trailer went off eastbound Interstate 84 and rolled down a steep embankment about 18 miles west of La Grande Monday morning.
Investigators say driver fatigue may have been a contributing factor in the crash involving members of the Hispanic musical group "La Estrella" from Dallas.
According to Lt. Mike Turner, around 7:40 a.m. dispatchers were notified that a van pulling a trailer had crashed off the eastbound lanes of I-84 near milepost 241. OSP Senior Trooper Marcus McDowell and seven people in the van, who were not seriously injured, worked together to lift the van off a trapped person and found he was alive. The van came to rest over 50 feet down from the freeway lanes.
Four people were transported from the scene to hospitals. Seven others were taken by bus to Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande for medical evaluations of minor injuries.
Police say 34-year-old Gilberto C. Hernandez of Dallas was driving a 2006 Ford E350 van pulling a utility trailer filled with musical instruments and other personal property. The group was headed from Washington back to Texas.
The preliminary investigation found the van went off the interstate to the right onto a wide gravel area. The van struck a guardrail and then went down a steep embankment, rolling an unknown amount of times before coming to rest at the bottom.
Two of the men were ejected from the van, one of which was pinned underneath from his shoulders down. He was identified as Pablo Osorio and flown by LifeFlight to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, Washington.
Three others, including 29-year-old Oliverio Benitez Sanchez, were also ejected and taken by ground ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
The crash remains under investigation. No citations have been issued at this time.