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One airlifted after I-5 rollover crash near Siskiyou Summit

Four Yreka, Calif., residents were hurt Thursday, two of them seriously, when a pickup truck flipped and rolled down an Interstate 5 embankment near the Siskiyou Summit, ejecting two passengers who police believe were not wearing safety belts, authorities said.

One person had to be airlifted to a Medford hospital and the others were sent by ambulance after a 10:15 a.m. wreck Thursday that briefly closed I-5's southbound lanes and caused traffic back-ups as far as three miles, according to Oregon State Police.

Tim Hendricks, 24, who was airlifted by helicopter from the wreck, was listed in serious condition at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, as was the pickup's driver, 40-year-old Matt Tudor, according to Asante.

Passenger Chris Stevens, 30, was listed in fair condition at Asante, a hospital spokeswoman said. The fourth passenger, 21-year-old Mahaliah Gulbranson, was treated and released at Providence Medford Medical Center.

OSP said Tudor was driving a 2001 F-150 four-door crew cab south when for unknown reasons the vehicle left I-5 on the left side for several hundred yards before it returned to the pavement. The vehicle then rolled on the pavement and ejected Stevens and Hendricks before it rolled over the guardrail and plunged about 75 yards down an embankment, police said.

Only Tudor appears to have been wearing a seat belt, police said.

OSP said it was investigating whether the driver might have fallen asleep just before the crash in the southbound lanes about 1½ miles from the California border. Two dogs that were in the truck ran away after the crash. Jackson County Animal Control responded but was unable to locate the dogs, OSP said.

Emergency crews blocked southbound traffic in the slow lane and later all southbound traffic for 15 minutes while the airlift took place, OSP Capt. Bill Fugate said.

Southbound traffic was backed up about three miles at one time. It was flowing freely by noon, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Two people were ejected in this rollover crash that injured four near the Siskiyou Summit Thursday morning. Oregon State Police photo