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Medford woman remains hospitalized after crash

A 27-year-old Medford woman was seriously injured Friday in a two-car accident on Highway 140 near Lake of the Woods.

Speed and slick roads were factors in the crash, which was reported at 11:19 a.m. at milepost 28, Oregon State Police Lt. Brian Powers said.

A Ford Explorer driven by Andrew Dixon, 39, of Medford, was traveling eastbound when it lost control on the snow-covered highway and drifted into the westbound lane.

The Explorer slide sideways into the opposite lane and was hit broadside by an oncoming Toyota 4-Runner driven by Alejandro Chavez, 29, of Medford.

The impact smashed the passenger-side doors on the Explorer. Passenger Sarah Rhodes, 27, of Medford, suffered "serious" injuries and was transported by Mercy Flights helicopter to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford.

She remained in emergency trauma care late Friday, hospitals officials said.

The four people inside the Explorer were transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center with what Oregon State Police described as minor injuries.

Chavez also was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries that were not considered life threatening, OSP said.

Oregon Department of Transportation crews shut the highway down for less than an hour while the wreckage was cleared.

ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming said the road surface was slick from snow and freezing rain.

Even though there was no chain requirement issued for the area, Leaming advised travelers on Highway 140 to always pack chains and emergency equipment when crossing the highway during the winter.

"The highway is usually covered in packed snow all winter," Leaming said. "Drivers need to take extra precautions."

Powers said most accidents that happen on the highway during the winter months are caused by excessive speed.

"The (Explorer) was going too fast when rounding a curve going uphill and drifted into the other lane," he said. "Slowing down in these conditions is important."

Leaming said anyone wishing to cross Highway 140 through the Cascade Mountains should check road conditions at www.tripcheck.com or call 511.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Five people were injured today in this wreck along a slick Highway 140 between White City and Klamath Falls. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch