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Fatal Pedestrian-Involved Traffic Crash - Highway 97 south of La Pine
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Office
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Sunday night's fatal pedestrian-involved traffic crash just south of La Pine that resulted in the death of a 68-year old man.
According to OSP Sergeant Don Wagner, on May 29, 2011 at approximately 10:40 p.m. OSP responded to a report that a pedestrian was struck by a pickup on Highway 97 near milepost 169. When a trooper arrived at the scene the pedestrian, identified as STEPHEN EARL POWELL, age 68, from La Pine, was found in the southbound lane of travel. POWELL was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Preliminary investigation indicates POWELL was walking in the southbound lane of an unlighted area on Highway 97 when he was struck by a 2008 Dodge pickup traveling southbound. The pickup's driver, STEPHEN MARK GERRICK, age 48, from Gilchrist, was not injured.
The highway was closed and traffic was routed around the crash scene for over 2 hours while troopers investigated the crash scene.
OSP troopers from the Bend Area Command office are continuing the investigation into the cause of the crash and why the man was walking on that stretch of highway.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, La Pine Fire District, and Oregon Department of Transportation assisted at the crash scene.
Preliminary ODOT data shows there were 62 pedestrian fatalities in 2010, up from 39 deaths in 2009. Pedestrian fatalities made up 20 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Oregon last year. To date in 2011, pedestrian fatalities in Oregon are down nearly 20 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
All travelers, especially during the summer months when there is an increase of vulnerable highway users, need to be aware and alert for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists on or near the road. OSP and ODOT also urge:
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists to stay alert, be predictable, follow traffic control devices and signals, where light-colored or reflective clothing (especially at night), and be very careful at curbs and intersections.
  • All highway users not to drive, walk or ride impaired or distracted.