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Update: Oregon State Police arrest man involved in the double fatal traffic crash on I-5 that occurred June 17th
06/21/2009
Lt. Mike Bloom
Oregon State Police - Springfield
541-726-2536 x218
 
Lane Co. District Attorney
541-682-4261

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police and Parents of Kailee Coontz
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Stephen Whitaker was arrested today upon his release from the hospital and has been lodged into the Lane County Jail on the charges of 2 counts of Manslaughter I, 2 counts of Assault 3, DUII, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangering.
 
On June 17th, 2009, Oregon State Police troopers from the Springfield Area Command responded to a reported head-on traffic collision on I-5 near milepost 182.
 
The investigation indicates a motor home, being driven by Stephen Whitaker age 41, of Cottage Grove, Oregon was traveling northbound on I-5 when he lost control. His motor home then crossed through the center median into the southbound lanes colliding with a southbound Oldsmobile. The Oldsmobile was being driven by Cathleen Coontz age 35 of Springfield. In addition to Cathleen Coontz her husband Brian Coontz age 35 and daughter Kailee Coontz age 5 also of Springfield, Oregon were in the vehicle.
 
Both Cathleen and Brian Coontz were treated and release with minor injuries from River Bend Hospital in Springfield. Kailee Coontz was pronounced deceased at the scene. Cathleen and Brian Coontz were wearing seat belts and Kailee was properly seated in a booster seat and wearing a seatbelt.
 
Whitaker was taken to River Bend Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries. A passenger in Whitaker's motor home was transported by air ambulance to River Bend Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. This person's next of kin have not been located, therefore his name is being withheld.
 
I-5 south bound was partially closed for several hours while emergency crews and the OSP Collision Reconstruction Unit completed their investigation. All lanes were re-opened by 2:00 AM.
 
The investigation into the cause of this crash was a combined effort between OSP and the Lane County District Attorneys Office. Additional assistance at the scene was provided by the Lane County Sheriff's Office, Goshen Fire and ODOT.