Vale grad on the road to recovery after serious car crash

The remains of Maycee DeLong’s Honda Accord underscore the seriousness of her car crash in January. (Submitted photo).

VALE – Brandon Smalley’s thought as he ran up to the destroyed Honda Accord on a highway south of Salem was that no one inside could be alive.

The dark blue vehicle sat halfway down an embankment off of U.S. Highway 99 on the morning of Jan. 31.

He called 911 as he clambered over the guard rail and through blackberry bushes to reach the car.

At first Smalley didn’t see anyone. He yelled out.

“It looked really bad,” said Smalley.

Then he heard a woman’s voice.

“She said she was conscious. She said her name and her age. Then she kept asking me to please help her,” said Smalley.

“I told her I wasn’t going to leave until medics arrived,” said Smalley.

Inside the wrecked vehicle, crushed under metal and plastic and glass was 20-year-old Maycee DeLong, formerly of Vale.

Smalley was trailing DeLong and another vehicle on the highway when a series of events put DeLong into a collision course with an oncoming dump truck.

The impact sent her Honda across the highway, over the guardrail and down the embankment.

The driver’s side doors were ripped off and the car was split open.

Smalley didn’t hesitate. Without thinking he pulled over and ran toward the wreck.

The angle of the embankment kept him at a short distance from the Honda and he said he didn’t want to move her for fear he would only make her injuries worse.

“I asked her if she was in pain. She said her chest hurt a little bit and her legs hurt. I could tell from where I was, from her knee down, she had injuries to the leg,” said Smalley.

DeLong, said Smalley, was for the most part calm. She said she had midterm tests that day.

“I let her know she was probably not going to make her midterms,” said Smalley.

Smalley said he wasn’t sure DeLong could move inside the wreckage.

Within about six minutes, paramedics arrived.

“It seemed like a lot longer,” said Smalley.

The medics shooed Smalley away from the crash scene.

He lingered for a bit and then walked back up to his pickup, hopped behind the wheel and drove toward Salem and his job.

“Once I started to drive is when it actually hit home. My stomach kind of dropped a little bit. It hit me more,” he said.


That Monday, Jan 31, at about 9:45 a.m. Tom DeLong was at Nyssa Middle School preparing his P.E. class to warm up for exercises. His cell phone rang.

A nurse from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis told Delong his daughter was in a car accident. The nurse said his daughter was talking and awake and was going in for a CT scan and her ankle was broken.

Delong then called his wife, Sheri DeLong, a kindergarten teacher at Vale Elementary School.

Sheri DeLong called the nurse back.

“I said, ‘How serious is it?’ The nurse said she was in a major accident. I asked if we should come and the nurse said ‘Please do,’” said DeLong.

Delong said she “kind of went into shock.”

“I left my class, which was on recess, and called my mom and sister and daughter. I went to go back to my room and do a lesson plan. The next thing, I found myself in the closet of my room not knowing why I was standing there,” she said.

“I couldn’t stop shaking. I was just scared.”

The DeLongs reached the hospital in Corvallis at about 5:30 p.m. and wanted to go right to their daughter. Their older daughter, Kylee, who lives in Beaverton, had arrived earlier and was with her sister.

The parents finally saw their daughter and learned how serious her injuries were.

Maycee DeLong suffered lung contusions in the crash and the tibia and fibula – two long bones in her lower left leg – were shattered in two places and her ribs were bruised.

“It took them 20 minutes to get her out of the car,” said Sheri.

She was also struggling to breathe and then the condition of one leg worsened.

“They really needed to get her leg worked on. They thought she was stable enough in her breathing to get in and just do a really quick fix, enough to stop the bone marrow from leaking,” said Sheri. “When they moved her from her ICU bed to the operating table, she stopped breathing.”

The medical team got her breathing again with the help of a ventilator.

“The fear stated all over again. It really put into perspective how bad the accident really was. Tom and I had a good cry,” said Sheri.

For the next six days Maycee stayed on the ventilator and a feeding tube.

Last week, though, her doctors took her off the ventilator as her condition improved.


Tuesday, Feb. 8, during the Nyssa-Vale girls and boys’ basketball game, donations were solicited for Maycee’s medical expenses.

While the DeLongs have medical insurance, they have no idea how much they will have to pay in the long run.

Maycee, who graduated from Vale High School in 2020, was a standout athlete in volleyball and tennis.

The day of the accident she was going to Salem to donate plasma.

Maycee never lost consciousness during the ordeal, said her mother.

“She said the accident was really scary and she is still having nightmares about it, but on her way to the hospital that day she thought everything would be great,” said Sheri DeLong.

Sheri said her daughter still has a long road of recovery.

“Her lungs are healing. But she is looking at major surgery to put rod through her tibia in her left leg,” she said.

Late last week DeLong was released from the hospital but will return this week for an operation on her leg.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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