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Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 97 south of Kent
Sergeant Julie Wilcox
Oregon State Police - The Dalles
(541) 296-9646

Photograph links valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into the cause of Saturday afternoon's fatal traffic crash that resulted in the death of a Richland, Washington woman and injuries to two others on Highway 97 about two miles south of Kent.  This was the first fatal traffic crash OSP has investigated during this year's Memorial Day holiday weekend. Last year, six people died in 6 separated traffic crashes on Oregon roads.
On May 28, 2011 at approximately 2:27 p.m. a 2000 Honda Accord four-door driven by RULE CURTIS BEASLEY, age 79, from The Dalles, was northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 43 when, for an unknown reason, it crossed into the southbound lane and collided nearly head-on with a 2005 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer loaded with apples. After the initial impact the commercial truck traveled into the northbound lane where it collided head-on with a northbound 1997 Chevrolet pickup driven by GARY LOUIS KEITH, age 49, from Richland, Washington.
GARY KEITH was transported by LifeFlight to Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland with serious injuries. He was using safety restraints. His wife/passenger KIMBERLY ANN KEITH, age 50, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Safety restraint use is pending confirmation by investigating troopers.
BEASLEY was transported by Sherman Ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles with serious injuries. He was using safety restraints.
The truck's driver, JUAN MANUEL RODRIGUEZ MEJIA, age 45, from Pasadena, California was not injured. He was using safety restraints.
All lanes were closed until about 8:15 p.m. when one lane was open.
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
Sherman County Sheriff's Office, Sherman County Fire Department and ODOT assisted at the scene. A Hazardous Materials response team assisted with cleaning up a large diesel spill.