HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A LaGrande father of four says he s lucky to be alive after his car was destroyed by a rock slide on Interstate 84 Wednesday night.
Dan Koopman was headed home to LaGrande from a work meeting in Salem. Suddenly, at around 7:30 p.m., at least 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris came tumbling down onto the stretch of I-84 he was driving on.
Slideshow:I-84 rock slide
He was traveling at about 58 miles an hour when several huge boulders smashed the front end of his car and cracked his windshield.
I had the sheer terror, Koopman said. I could hear more movement outside. I thought, I m going to get crushed, and I bailed out of my car as fast as I could.
He jumped over the Jersey barrier to safety and waited for help to arrive, knowing he was just inches from a far worse fate.
I am just so unbelievably grateful, he said. I just look at the car, and the rocks. And some of them were far larger than my car. He escaped with just a few sore ribs.
I can t believe I survived, he said when he went back to look at his car hours later (pictured). I believe there s a reason I m alive today.
Major closure on I-84 eastbound
The rock slide forced the closure of both eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 61, west of Hood River Wednesday night, with a man barely escaping the rubble as it fell. On Thursday, ODOTannounced that the closure would remain through the weekend, due to unstable conditions.
Drivers on I-84 are being rerouted to the Interstate 205 bridge to eastbound SR 14, where motorists can rejoin I-84 at the Hood River Bridge, which requires a toll. Another route was to take U.S. 26 east to OR 35, and then north to I-84 in Hood River.
Drivers were warned to expect heavy traffic, delays and backups on this route. Truckers were also alerted that oversized loads are not allowed on SR-14 between Washougal and Hood River.
KGW Reporter Ashley Korslien contributed to this report.