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Triple Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 97 south of Grass Valley
Sergeant Pat Shortt
Oregon State Police - The Dalles
Office: (541) 296-9646

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation into a fatal traffic crash shortly after midnight Tuesday morning that resulted in the death of three people from Mattawa, Washington. The crash occurred when the pickup they were in crossed the centerline of Highway 97 about ten miles south of Grass Valley and collided head-on with a commercial truck. Positive identification was made on all three victims and next of kin notifications were done with help of Grant County, Washington Sheriff's Office.
According to OSP Sergeant Pat Shortt, on May 18, 2010 at approximately 12:39 a.m. a black 2001 Toyota Tacoma pickup occupied by three men was northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 38 when it crossed the centerline into the path of a southbound 2003 Freightliner truck pulling a semi-trailer. Despite the attempt by the commercial truck's driver, BENJAMIN V. QUIROZ, age 58, from Anaheim, California, to avoid the oncoming pickup by moving toward the southbound highway shoulder, both vehicles collided head-on.
The victims from Mattawa, Washington are identified as:
* Right front passenger AUDELINO SANDOVAL-BARAJAS, age 43
* Left rear passenger PABLO ALCALA MARMOLEJO, age 52
QUIROZ and his passenger, JOSE LUIS ORTIZ MORENO, age 56, from Salinas, California received minor injuries. Both were transported by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment.
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Safety restraint use information is not available.
Sherman County Sheriff's Office, ODOT and Sherman County Fire/Ambulance assisted at the scene. The highway was closed for about 3 hours before one lane was opened. All lanes were opened about 4:30 a.m.