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Traffic Crash Reminder of Potential Dangers When Animals On or Near Highway
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph link valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
A Tuesday morning non-injury traffic crash on Highway 97 seven miles south of Crescent is another reminder to pay attention and increase your following distance because of unexpected wildlife and other animals on or near our roads.
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Senior Trooper Joe Smith, on July 26, 2011 at approximately 5:45 a.m. a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by JEAN TANGSRUD, age 38, from Kenmare, North Dakota was northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 177 when a herd of elk crossed the highway in front of her vehicle. As TANGSRUD braked to avoid the elk, a commercial truck collided into the back of her vehicle. The truck's driver, GENE ALBERT, age 66, from White City, was attempting to steer to the left to avoid a collision and came to rest partially off the highway.
TANGSRUD was able to maintain control of her vehicle after the collision and stopped on the highway shoulder. TANGSRUD and her passenger were using safety restraints and weren't injured.
ALBERT was also using safety restraints and wasn't injured. He was cited for Following Too Closely. His truck was towed from the scene due to front end damage.
OSP and ODOT would like to remind all drivers of the possible dangers associated with animals on or near our highways. The following driving tips are offered as it relates to animal encounters on or near the highway:
  • Be attentive at all times, especially sunset to sunrise for any potential hazard on or near the highway.
  • When driving in areas that have special signs indicating the possible presence of animals/wildlife use extra caution because these signs are posted for a reason.
  • Remember that the presence of any type of animal/wildlife could also mean that others are nearby.
  • When you see an animal/wildlife near or on the roadway, reduce your speed and following distance and try to stay in your lane. Many serious crashes are the result of drivers swerving to avoid wildlife or other obstacles and they crash into another vehicle or lose control of their own vehicle.
  • When driving any vehicle, always wear your safety belt because a collision could result in serious injuries.