An Astoria woman died in a crash near Naselle early Wednesday and her two young daughters, who survived the crash, were alone for hours before a passing motorist found them.
The Washington State Patrol says the 26-year-old woman and her two daughters, ages 2 and 4, were on the way to pick up the woman's husband in Westport. Around midnight, she spoke to him on the phone and found out he was going to be coming into Portland.
He told her not to worry about picking him up, but to just head home to Astoria. It appears she decided to drive to Portland.
Troopers believe at about 2 a.m. the car ran off Highway 401 and into a tree in a very remote area. The woman likely died immediately.
The 4-year-old managed to get herself and her 2-year-old sister out of the car and covered both of them with a blanket. Troopers said this likely saved them because both were injured and it was raining, with temperatures in the low 40s.
It was not until sometime between 8 and 8:30 a.m. that someone driving by noticed a fresh gash in the tree, decided to check it out and found the girls.
"'Well done' is all you can say to the person who took the time to find these baby girls at this crash," Trooper Russ Winger said via Twitter. "Most people would not have been so observant."
Troopers say the accident is under investigation, but all indications are that the woman fell asleep at the wheel.