Police: Driver holding breath in tunnel faints, causes crash

Highway 26 crashKATU 2 News

MANNING, Ore. – A 19-year-old man who held his breath while driving through a tunnel on Highway 26 fainted and caused a three-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon, state police said.

Daniel J. Calhoon of Snohomish, Wash., was driving a Toyota Camry west of Manning when he fainted in a tunnel. His car crossed the center line and crashed head-on into an SUV, according to police.  

Both vehicles crashed into the tunnel walls and a pickup truck crashed into the Camry.

Four people were injured. Police said none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Calhoon and his passenger, Bradley Meyring, were taken by ambulance to a Portland hospital.

The two people in the SUV were also taken to a hospital.

Doctor Sarah Winslow of Adventist Health says the impact of holding your breath while trying to drive at the same time, can be unpredictable.

“I’m sure the person that did this didn’t know that they were gonna pass out,” Dr. Winslow said. “They probably thought ‘Oh, I’ll just start breating again.’ It’s sad that they had so much effect from playing a game.”

Calhoon was cited for assault (4th degree), reckless driving and three counts of reckless endangering.

State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said Monday he’s not sure why Calhoon was holding his breath, but some people hold their breaths in tunnels as part of a game or superstition.

The tunnel, called the Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel, was completed in 1940 and carries the highway through the Northern Oregon Coast Range mountains. It’s 772 feet long, meaning that a car traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 mph would get through it in about 10 seconds.

KATU’s Bob Heye and The Associated Press contributed to this story.


4 thoughts on “Police: Driver holding breath in tunnel faints, causes crash

  1. Automobile tunnels are chock-full of poisonous carbon monoxide, and I suspect that’s why he was holding his breath, but someone should have told the moron that his body needs a regular supply of oxygen too. If he’s that worried about tunnels he should drive around with scuba gear. (if you’re one of the people worried about this, there’s an emergency oxygen tank with a mouthpiece sold to scuba divers that contains about an hour’s worth of clean breathing that’s very portable)

    One tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan (the “Brooklyn Battery tunnel” — not battery operated, but connected to Battery Park) has oxygen booths for workers. If you tried to walk the length of it while it was open to traffic you’d be dead before you reached the other side.

  2. That chump could not hold hid breath for 10 farging seconds?

    Sounds like there is more to this story than what the moron driver is letting on.

  3. And for his next stunt he will close his eyes for ten seconds while driving through the same tunnel.

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