9-year-old seriously hurt in Hwy 22E Crash: 'Am I going to die, dad?'

Oregon State Police say a 9-year-old was seriously injured in a crash on Highway 22E outside of Mill City on Jan. 14, 2019. KATU photo

MILL CITY, Ore. – A Marion County father rushed to save his son's life on Monday evening after a crash on Highway 22E outside Mill City.

The family almost hit a deer on Highway 22, and then nearly lost their lives when a driver crashed into them.

"My son is bleeding out on the concrete. I just felt so helpless holding my son," said Julien Doudna, the boy's father.

Doudna says his wife, Brandie, was driving east on Highway 22 on their way back from the grocery store. After avoiding the deer, their SUV hit a guardrail, spun around, and wouldn't restart. Doudna says the car started to smoke and he and his wife worked to get their four young children out of the car.

They then noticed a car was speeding toward them.

"He hit our SUV so hard; he spun like a complete 360 across three lanes, and I watched my boy get ejected out in the air," Doudna said. "I started screaming, running towards him and I found him on the concrete. He was passed out and his face was just covered in blood."

Nine-year-old Tristan Backer was taken to a hospital in Salem and then airlifted to a Portland hospital. He's listed in serious condition.

“I was pulling out the chunks of glass, telling him it would be OK. And then he's like, ‘Dad, it hurts,’” Doudna remembered. “I'm trying to pull this glass out of your face and make you better. I did everything I could, that a father could do. I didn't know what else to do besides pray.”

They say it took 20 minutes for first responders to get to the scene.

The right side of Tristan’s face is covered in blood, and he suffered broken bones all over his face.

“He keeps asking if he's going to die. He keeps saying, ‘I can't do this anymore, I'm going to die,” said Doudna.

Oregon State Police said the other driver is not facing any charges for the crash.

Even though Oregon state law requires drivers to slow down and move over for disabled vehicles, troopers said the highway was very dark, and because their vehicle was turned sideways and was in the road, the move-over law doesn’t apply.

Hear how the parents of the victim say the driver acted immediately after the crash:

The boy's father describes the horror of seeing his son ejected from their car after the crash:

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