Large rock from I-5 overpass hits UO student in face, causes crash

Large rock from I-5 overpass hits UO student in face, causes crash

RICE HILL, Ore. - A rock larger than a baseball crashed through the windshield of a car on Interstate 5 Monday night, injuring the University of Oregon student athlete behind the wheel and causing the car to crash.

UO student Molly Grabill, 20, of Poway, California, was driving north on I-5 around 10:40 p.m. when a rock larger than a baseball came down from the Isadore Road overpass at Exit 146, smashing through the driver's side of the windshield and hitting Grabill in the face, Oregon State Police said.

Grabill's passenger, Chris Brewer, grabbed the steering wheel of the 1997 Subaru Legacy station wagon but was unable to control the car. The Subaru went off the road and overturned on the freeway, police said.

Grabill was taken by ambulance to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield for treatment of facial injuries. She was reportedly in good condition Tuesday morning, police said.

Brewer was treated and released for injuries from the crash.

Grabill and Brewer are both distance runners on the Duck track and cross country teams.

Anyone with information about persons or vehicles seen near the mentioned location around the time of this incident is asked to call OSP Detective Tom Willis at (541) 440-3334 or the OSP Southern Command Center dispatch at (541) 440-3333. 

“It is difficult to comprehend when a random act such as this one happens to anyone, let alone members of our athletic family," said Rob Mullens, the UO athletics director. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Molly and Chris for a speedy recovery. They have the wonderful support of family, friends, teammates and coaches and we are very thankful both are expected to recover.

“I urge anyone with information on this incident to please come forward and contact the Oregon State Police so that no one else gets hurt.” 

“The most import thing is that we are grateful Molly and Chris are going to be alright," said Robert Johnson, the head track coach. "We’re a tight-knit, family oriented team and this has been a real shock for all of us. The outcome could have been much worse.

“Our team has rallied around Molly and Chris and I’m so proud to see them all being there for their teammates and doing whatever they can to help. We will continue to support Molly and Chris and we ask for all of TrackTown to pray for a speedy recovery.”