Police: Intoxicated Driver Goes Airborne, Crashes in Pond on Dryland Road Outside Canby

A 44-year-old man was airlifted to a hospital after crashing his brand-new 2018 Tesla into a tree on South Dryland Road last week. Police say the driver, Eric John Loechle, was speeding and his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

It started at 3:20 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, when a Clackamas County deputy was flagged down by a man on Dryland Road, yelling that there was “a crash at the pond.”

The deputy drove another 50 yards and saw a black car against a tree in the middle of a duck pond, partially submerged in about four feet of water. There was debris everywhere, including golf clubs and an empty golf bag, which was floating nearby. The deputy had missed the crash by seconds.

Based on skid marks and other evidence at the scene, authorities determined that the car entered a slide, traveled into the oncoming lane and left the road, knocking over trees and going airborne for approximately 20 feet before coming to a stop in the pond.

The deputy found that Loechle was injured and slumped to one side, but breathing. The passenger side floorboard was filling with water.

Canby Fire personnel used hydraulic tools to cut away the driver’s side door and extract Loechle. Life Flight then airlifted him to an area hospital for treatment of significant injuries, including multiple fractures.

Speed and alcohol are considered factors in the crash. The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was reportedly later measured at 0.174 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. Police say the case was referred to the Clackamas County DA’s Office for consideration of criminal charges.

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