published Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Oregon man loses arm as car sideswipes truck

SUTHERLIN, Ore. — A passenger who stuck his arm out a car window lost the limb when the car tried to pass a tractor-trailer rig in Southern Oregon but sideswiped it instead, state police said.

The 33-year-old man was taken to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland on Tuesday for an attempt to reattach the arm, which was severed above the elbow, Trooper Jake Ledbetter told the Roseburg News-Review (

Hospital officials said they could report only that Ryan Smith of Sutherlin was in fair condition.

Police said the driver of the 1991 Toyota Camry, 35-year-old Richard Thacker, was jailed on charges that included assault, driving under the influence of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license.

Ledbetter said it wasn't evident why Smith's arm was out the window, except that it was a hot day and the 1991 Toyota Camry had no air conditioning. He said troopers are still trying to determine what caused the Tuesday accident on Interstate Highway 5.

"We don't have many witnesses," he said.

Lydia Warner, a registered nurse from Pennsylvania, came upon the accident and made a tourniquet from Smith's T-shirt. Her boyfriend, Ed Strong, retrieved the arm from the road.

Warner said she was able to control the passenger's bleeding and tried to calm the driver.

"I helped him get off to the side of the road and get to a safer space while reassuring both men that help was on the way," Warner said

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