Race against tide: Car traps man on Tillamook County beach

Driver was spinning cookies when the car rolled, police said

By: Jennifer Dowling and KOIN 6 News Staff
Posted: Dec 26, 2018 02:41 PM PST
Updated: Dec 26, 2018 06:21 PM PST


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rescuers worked quickly against time and tide to pull a man from a car that had flipped on a beach in Tillamook County.

Nestucca Fire Chief Jim Oder said he got to the beach around 12:40 p.m. on Christmas Day, just minutes after receiving a call about the accident.

Oder said an SUV had tipped over with 3 people inside. While 2 of them had managed to escape, the third had his arm pinned and was trapped.

The rescue turned into a race against time as an unusually strong tide was rolling in fast and the beach was steadily shrinking under the pounding of strong waves.

Oder said emergency workers were able to keep the trapped person out of the water as they cut away part of the car’s roof and windshield. They pulled the trapped man out of the car within about 30 to 40 minutes and took him to higher ground.

The victim was awake and talking during the whole rescue, Oder said, but started showing signs of hypothermia. His arm injury also appeared to be severe. He was air lifted to Legacy Emanuel hospital in Portland.

Oregon State Police said the victim was the driver. Officer Walter Silkwood said the driver was spinning cookies on McPhillips Beach in Pacific City when the car rolled. Emergency workers pushed it onto its side in order to reach the driver.

The passengers were intoxicated and there were empty alcohol containers in the car, according to police, but the driver did not appear to have been drinking.

Meanwhile, a tow company planned to move the car once the tide went back out.

Tassay Gillispie was driving with her family when they came across the scene on the beach and stopped to watch. She said the tipped SUV filled with water more than once as officials were trying to get the trapped person out.

Gillispie said she hopes the story is a reminder to others to use extreme caution whenever they’re on the beach.

“People underestimate the ocean and its ruthlessness,” she said.