On March 27, 2014 at approximately 11:37 p.m., a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban driven by BEATRIZ MURILLO, age 38, from Salem, was eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 234 when MURILLO lost control on black ice. The vehicle rolled several times crossing through the median before coming to rest on the westbound shoulder.
The Suburban was occupied by six family members. A 5-year old boy was not properly restrained and was ejected from the rolling vehicle, coming to rest seriously injured in the westbound lanes. The child, whose name is not available, was initially transported by air ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton. He was then taken by air ambulance to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland for treatment of serious injuries.
The other five family members, including driver MURILLO and 44-year old passenger LUCIO MENDOZA, were transported by ground ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Other names are not available for this release.
OSP troopers from the Pendleton Area Command office responded to the scene to investigate. Senior Trooper Michael Wolf is the lead investigator. No photographs available for this release.
OSP was assisted by Umatilla Tribal EMS, Pendleton EMS, and ODOT. The westbound lanes were closed approximately 1 hour.
OSP and ODOT urge all travelers to remember that proper safety restraint usage is the single most effective way to protect against injuries or death in a motor vehicle crash. The greatest danger to unbelted children and adult occupants is ejection from the vehicle. An unbelted or improperly restrained occupant is five times more likely to be ejected than one who is belted.
The odds of surviving ejection are estimated at one in four - compared to a one in two hundred fatality rate for occupants who remain inside the vehicle. Ejection is the principal reason that minors are prohibited from riding in an open bed of a pickup truck.
For child safety seats, follow the manufacturer's instructions or attend a free child safety seat clinic (see below for resources). For adults, "proper use" means the lap belt is placed low across hips with the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest over the collarbone. Belts should be free of slack and lying flat with no twists or knots. If the shoulder belt portion of the belt rides up onto the neck or feels uncomfortable, comfort may be increased by using the built-in adjuster or by moving seat position. The shoulder belt should NOT be placed under the arm or behind the back - this can cause serious internal injuries or ejection in a crash.
OREGON LAW: A child weighing less than 40 pounds must be properly restrained in a child safety seat. A child under one year of age or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over forty pounds but under age eight or less than 4' 9" tall must be restrained in either a child seat with harness system or in a booster seat that raises the child up so that a lap and shoulder belt system fit correctly.
For help with child seats, refer to the seat manufacturer's instructions, vehicle owner's manual, or your local child seat fitting station. A list of fitting stations can be found at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/apps/cps/index.htm or at http://oregonimpact.org/car-seat-resources/