Watson continues recovery from crash

He has undergone three surgeries and remains in intensive care

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A Walla Walla businessman remains in intensive care in a Portland hospital after a head-on crash more than two weeks ago on the Oregon Coast.

Tom Watson Sr., 64, continues to improve but remains in serious condition at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, family members say. The entrepreneur, an owner of numerous commercial properties, has had three surgeries since the Oct. 14 wreck -- one on his neck, one on his left leg and one on his six broken ribs, said son Juston Watson.

"All surgeries went well, and he has a long road of recovery and rehabilitation," Juston Watson said in an e-mail Thursday.

The cause of the evening collision, which killed one person and left four others injured, is still under investigation, said Oregon State Patrol Sgt. Andrew Merila.

According to the OSP's report, Tom Watson and his wife, Sydnee, were southbound on U.S. Highway 101, south of Cannon Beach and one mile north of the Arch Cape tunnel, when their 2009 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup was struck by an oncoming 1994 Volvo four-door driven by Charles E. Nilson.

Nilson, 83, of Lake Forest Park, Wash., was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Carol Nilson, 79, and daughter, Debra Nilson, 53, from Seattle, were transported to Providence Seaside Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the report said.

Sydnee Watson, 62, was treated and released at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, Ore.

Investigators do not know why Nilson crossed the center line.

Juston Watson said family members will be in Portland for the foreseeable future.

"The concern his friends have shown has been wonderful yet overwhelming at times," he said. "We thank everyone for keeping him in their prayers."

Watson said though flowers have been appreciated, they are not allowed in his father's room. The family also requests no phone calls given the daily struggles of recovery.

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