By CHRIS COLLINS
Dr. James Davis, Baker County medical examiner, has determined that the driver of a vehicle involved in a head-on crash on Cedar Street on Tuesday died of a heart attack.
Robert Weston, 77, of 1000 Park St., was traveling north when his 2005 Honda SUV crossed the center line and struck a 1999 Chrysler four-door sedan. It was driven by Jason Sandberg, 34, who lives on Pocahontas Road. The crash happened at 6:27 p.m. on Cedar Street near G Street, police said.
Weston was taken by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City where he was pronounced dead.
Sandberg was first taken by ambulance to the Baker City hospital and then flown to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise.
Sandberg said today in a phone interview from his hospital room that he is recovering from a compound fracture to his right leg and a broken right foot. He could be released as soon as Saturday, he said.
Sandberg works for the Oregon Department of Transportation and expects to be off work for at least three months. His injuries are covered by insurance.
Sandberg said he had just dropped his son off at the Nazarene Church at Hughes Lane and Cedar Street and was driving south on Cedar Street when Weston's vehicle crossed the center line. He'd had his Chrysler sedan for just nine days, he said.
Sandberg said he thought at first that someone he knew was joking with him when he saw Weston's car heading toward him. He was unable to swerve to the left because of oncoming traffic and he thought maybe the car was turning, so he didn't turn right to avoid the crash.
"I hit the brakes and was trying to stop and he just kept driving into me," Sandberg said.
Weston also was driving alone at the time of the crash.
Sandberg said he was wearing his seatbelt, and his airbags deployed in the crash.
He and his wife, Andrea, have five children. His sister-in-law, Marissa Burton, surprised the family with a visit from her home in California and is staying with the children while the Sandbergs are in Boise.
The couple also grow a 2-acre garden, which Jason said he will miss helping preparing for this year's growing season.
In an email to the Baker City Herald, Andrea Sandberg expressed her appreciation to the EMTs and people who stayed with her husband at the crash site and notified her about the accident.
"I was able to get to him while he was still at the accident and talked to him as he was being taken out of the car and transported to the hospital," she wrote. "That is one thing that is great about Baker County, the people do care about each other."