A Clark County sheriff’s deputy was in critical condition Wednesday after a portion of a tree fell onto his vehicle on Washougal River Road.
The single-vehicle crash was reported at 10:14 a.m. near Salmon Falls Road, just past the Skamania County line.
Investigators said they believe heavy snow broke off the upper portion of the large tree, which fell onto the deputy’s vehicle where the windshield meets the hood. The vehicle then came to a stop against another tree, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
The deputy was in Skamania County driving back from training, the sheriff’s office said. Several other officers traveling with him quickly provided first aid. A public works truck was in the area and removed the tree from across the vehicle before medics and fire personnel arrived.
While emergency responders from Clark and Skamania counties responded to the area, Life Flight was initially placed on standby, but it was later canceled due to the snowy weather. Responders struggled to reach the area amid radio reports of downed power lines and slick road conditions, according to emergency radio traffic monitored by The Columbian.
Heavy rescue crews responded and extricated the deputy from the vehicle, according to radio traffic.
The deputy underwent surgery at an area hospital Wednesday afternoon, before he was taken to a hospital in Portland. The sheriff’s office said he was in critical but stable condition. He had significant injuries, especially to his lower body.
The sheriff’s office thanked the numerous agencies that responded, which included the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, Vancouver Fire Department, East County Fire and Rescue, and Skamania Fire.