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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - One person is in the hospital and two men were arrested after a crash on the off-ramp of Highway 126 westbound at Mohawk Blvd just after midnight Friday.
The driver, Derek Willits of Springfield was charged with DUII and Reckless Driving. The front seat passenger, Matthew York of Eugene was charged with Interfering with Police and Reckless Endangering.
Police said Willits lost control of his 2004 Honda Accord as he tried to exit the freeway. The car slid sideways for several feet, clipping a reflective guardrail.
The Honda then spun backwards into a steel guardrail when, police said, the entire barrier collapsed, puncturing through the rear seat at an angle and forcing the rear passenger seat door open.
Willits had a second passenger sitting behind him. Police said if the passenger hadn't been sitting behind the driver, he could have died. The backseat passenger was transported to the hospital with a fractured back and cuts to his head.
Police said Willits and York attempted to free the car but were unsuccessful. They said York ran from police but was arrested a short time later. Investigators discovered that York was the front seat passenger.
Willits was driving drunk, according to police. They said Willits and York were taking turns pulling the emergency brake while on the freeway trying to cause momentary slides.
The off-ramp was closed for roughly 30 minutes while crews worked to free the car from the barrier.
Both men were taken to the Springfield Municipal Jail and additional charges are possible.
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