July 12, 2013
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
(Photograph links available in previous news release on our website)
Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into Wednesday afternoon's double fatal traffic crash along Highway 97 between Kent and Shaniko. The crash resulted in the deaths of an adult male and adult fem ale, son and mother from Burien, Washington. Their names are released in this update following completion of next of kin notifications.
According to Sergeant Les Kipper, on July 10, 2013 at approximately 2:45 p.m., a 2005 Toyota Corolla driven by JACQUES ROBERT GORDON, age 21, from Burien, Washington, was southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 53. For an unknown reason, the Toyota moved into the northbound lane attempting to pass a southbound commercial truck when the car's driver lost control as a northbound commercial truck approached. The car crossed broadside toward the southbound lane and was struck in the driver's side in the northbound lane by the commercial truck driven by GENE E. WELLER II, age 58, from Yucaipa, California.
After the initial collision, the southbound commercial truck driven by LAWRENCE E. HANDEL, age 67, from Hermiston, was involved in a secondary collision getting sideswiped by the northbound truck driven by WELLER. The northbound truck then traveled off the east side of the highway before coming to rest. With the help of people who stopped at the scene, WELLER, who was using safety restraints, got out of his truck and later was taken by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
JACQUES GORDON and passenger/mother RENEE M. PARENT, age 54, also from Burien, were pronounced deceased at the scene. They were headed to a Young Life camp near Antelope, Oregon.
HANDEL was not injured.
The highway was closed for several hours before being open to one lane as the scene investigation progressed.
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are investigating the cause of the crash. Trooper MattZistel is the lead investigator.
Assistance at the scene was provided by Sherman County Sheriff's Office, Moro Rural Fire Protection District, North Sherman County Rural Fire Protection District, South Sherman Fire Protection District, Sherman County Ambulance, and ODOT.
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