Iraq War vet in coma after Ore. assault

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PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) -- A 24-year-old Iraq War veteran is reportedly in a coma following an assault at a Pendleton, Ore., railroad crossing that so traumatized a witness he has trouble recalling it.

A Kadlec Regional Medical Center spokesman in Richland, Wash., said Monday that Kenneth Pittman was in serious condition in intensive care.

Pittman's ex-wife, Rhiannon Smith of Pendleton, tells the East Oregonian that Pittman escaped injury during two Iraq tours with the Oregon National Guard. She says he has been unconscious since he was injured Saturday. Smith says doctors put Pittman into a coma to help him recover.

The East Oregonian (http://bit.ly/sVCy9d ) says police are looking for the assailant but have little to go on.

Police Chief Stuart Roberts says their witness was third in a line of vehicles waiting for a freight train to pass. He reports that Pittman -- second in line -- honked his horn. The first driver got out, as did Pittman, and words were exchanged. Then the attacker dropped Pittman with one blow.

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Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.info