October 16, 2012
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
October 14 - 20, 2012 is designated "Teen Driver Safety Week" nationally and in Oregon. Governor John Kitzhaber signed a proclamation designating this week as "Oregon Teen Driver Safety Week". Additional information is available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers.
According to Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon drivers under age 20 were involved in crashes at over twice the rate of the population as a whole. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young drivers, ages 15 - 20, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways - traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America.
Two traffic crashes involving teen drivers that happened Monday, October 15, are examples of the importance to stress teen driving safety by parents and teen drivers throughout the year.
On October 15, 2012 at approximately 12:24 p.m., Senior Trooper Andy McCool was eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 52 when a 1990 Toyota 4-Runner was detected on radar traveling westbound at 87 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. As McCool activated the patrol car emergency lights, the Toyota sped up to 94 mph entering a highway work zone. The Toyota's driver lost control negotiating a curve, going across the highway and crashing into the guardrail on the eastbound shoulder causing extensive damage to the vehicle and guardrail.
The driver, ZACHARY A. CONKLIN, age 19, from Damascus, and passenger were not injured.
Subsequent investigation ended with McCool citing CONKLIN to appear in Clackamas County Circuit Court for Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, No Operators License, Driving Uninsured, Violation of the Basic Rule: 94 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, and Unlawful Possession of less than an Ounce of Marijuana.
Photograph link from traffic crash valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
On October 15, 2012 at approximately 1:49 p.m., a 2005 Jeep Cherokee driven by JEREMY J. WALLS, age 19, from Colusa, California, was northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 43. For an unknown reason, the Jeep traveled across the highway and off the southbound shoulder where it rolled until stopping on its wheels in a wheat field. WALLS was not using safety restraints and was ejected, coming to rest partially underneath the vehicle.
WALLS was transported by LifeFlight to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. His dog was not injured and is being taken care of by a local resident until it can be returned to his family.
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Senior Trooper Thad Routson is the lead investigator.