Injured driver describes collision with tractor

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

A Yacolt woman was in satisfactory condition Tuesday night at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center after she suffered multiple injuries in a Saturday accident involving a car and tractor.

Alana Carroll, 21, said she was driving north on 72nd Avenue near 151st Street Saturday evening, headed toward Interstate 5 to go camping with her two passengers, Devin Fairbanks, 23, and Loren Dyvig, 18, both of Vancouver.

According to a police report, Fairbanks said there was a plastic bag flying around in the car; Carroll turned to see what it was and didn't see the tractor in time to stop.

Carroll, however, says she was coming over a hill and looked at her speedometer for a couple of seconds. She slammed on her brakes when she saw a tractor in the right lane, but didn't have enough time to stop. The tractor's plow, she said, went through her windshield.

Her 1997 Nissan Altima collided with the 2005 John Deere tractor driven by Cody Meck, 16, at 5:54 p.m. Saturday.

Meck was ejected from the tractor, landing about 10 feet from it. He was sent to PeaceHealth for a broken wrist.

The three in Carroll's car also were taken to PeaceHealth.

Carroll said she is being treated for a broken right femur, broken left arm and shattered elbow.

Fairbanks reported hip, back and shoulder pain and Dyvig reported shoulder pain. Both were treated and released.

Carroll was cited for second-degree negligent driving. Witnesses driving southbound on 72nd Avenue say she was not speeding, according to the police report.

The tractor, which was carrying a plow on the back, had the required equipment for driving on the road, including a slow-moving-vehicle triangle, says Clark County Sheriff's Sgt. Fred Neiman. According to the police report, the tractor was in an area of the road where it could be seen for 1/3 of a mile.

"This time of year, there's a lot of farm activity out in the rural areas," Neiman said.

Neiman says farm vehicles should secure their loads and take all the necessary precautions when they use public roads.