MANZANITA, Ore. — A group of National Guard members from an Ashland-based unit escaped injury in a bus crash near Manzanita that happened on Monday morning, according to Oregon State Police. The bus driver is suspected of impaired and distracted driving.
Around 7 a.m. on Monday, troopers from OSP and emergency crews responded to reports of a non-injury bus crash along Highway 1010 in Manzanita.
"The bus was occupied by 46 Army National Guard members from the HHC 1-186 IN from Medford," OSP said in a statement.
An investigation of the crash found that the bus was headed from Camp Rilea to Portland. The bus driver, 44-year-old Kenneth Alexander of Vancouver, Washington, missed a turn onto Highway 26 outside of Seaside.
"The driver assured the passengers he knew the route to Portland and continued southbound on US Hwy 101," OSP said. "The passengers grew concerned over the driver using his cell phone and showing signs of impairment and at the same time the driver lost control of the bus and crashed into the sidewalk."
The driver was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation, and no other injuries were reported in the crash.
OSP said that troopers were assisted by the Manzanita Police Department, and the Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office. The City of Manzanita opened City Hall to the members of the National Guard until another bus arrived.
The Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office will review the case for charges of Driving under the Influence and 46 counts of Reckless Endangering against Alexander, OSP said.