Witness pulls children from burning car after it plunges into river, Oregon cops say

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When a driver fell asleep behind the wheel Sunday morning, his car went around a guardrail and plunged 200 feet into a riverbank, Oregon State Police said.

The Mazda CX-9 came to a stop on the banks of the Grande Ronde River and caught on fire, Oregon State Police said Monday.

Someone who saw the accident on I-84 rushed to rescue two children who were inside. He doused the flames with water from the river and pulled the kids out of the car, police said. Everyone in the car was injured and needed medical care. The driver and another adult passenger who was in the front seat had serious injuries and were taken to medical care by life flight, police said.

Officials also took the two children to a nearby hospital after a trooper carried an injured girl across the river.

Oregon State Police did not disclose the condition of the passengers.

Driving while drowsy is similar to driving while drunk, according to the National Safety Council. People who are tired are three times more likely to be in a crash.

Crashes involving a drowsy driver cause more than 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year, the National Sleep Foundation reported.

Drivers should watch for these signs of sleepiness to help stay safe while driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Trouble focusing

  • Yawning

  • Rubbing your eyes

  • Daydreaming

  • Drifting into another lane

  • Missing exists or signs

  • Feeling restless or irritable

  • Slow reaction time

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