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Double Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 97 north of Madras in Jefferson County

July 20, 2013

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247

Photograph links valid at least 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police

NOTE: Corrected version below dated July 22, 2013

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Friday afternoon's two-vehicle fatal head-on crash that occurred on Highway 97 about seven miles north of Madras. Two people died and one person was injured.

On July 19, 2013 at approximately 5:30 p.m., a commercial truck was traveling southbound along Highway 97 near milepost 89 when a group of traffic began passing. One of the passing vehicles, a rented 2013 Subaru Legacy four-door driven by WARREN CHESTER WARD, age 91, from Chula Vista, California, had insufficient clearance to complete the pass and collided head-on with a 1991 Ford Explorer with two occupants. Both vehicles came to rest off the highway, where a small fire started in the front of the Subaru that was extinguished by firefighters before it spread into the car's interior.

WARD was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was using safety restraints and the car's airbags deployed.

The Ford's driver, HAROLD M. CURTIS, age 71, from Antelope, Oregon, was also pronounced deceased at the scene. His passenger/girlfriend, ELIZABETH A. SAMUL, age 68, from Antelope, was transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Madras with non-life threatening injuries. Both were using safety restraints.

OSP troopers from Madras and Prineville offices are on scene investigation the fatal crash. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Fire District #1, and ODOT assisted at the scene. The highway was blocked for over 2 hours before one lane was open.

Trooper Todd Burke is the lead investigator.


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