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Update: Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 97 north of Madras
09/02/2011
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

The Oregon State Police (OSP) investigation into the cause of the August 26, 2011 single vehicle fatal traffic crash north of Madras that killed the driver and seriously injured a passenger is concluding after troopers confirmed the vehicle was driving 127 mph seconds before the crash.
 
Information initially released indicated on August 26, 2011 at approximately 2:10 a.m. a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro driven by DAVID RAMIREZ, age 26, from Madras, was southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 71. RAMIREZ lost control and the car slid off the west side shoulder where it rolled several times before coming to rest in a 30-foot ravine. RAMIREZ was pronounced deceased at the scene. A 19-year old female passenger was seriously injured.
 
As part of the crash investigation, OSP collision reconstructionists checked for available information to determine vehicle speed at the time of the crash. This inspection included determining if the vehicle is equipped with an airbag control module (ACM) that also records pre-crash data including speed, brake status, seat belt use and other information.
 
Depending on a vehicle's make and model, some vehicles' ACMs record crash data to help build safer vehicles in the future. Some ACMs may have the ability to record the pre-crash data that is very useful to a collision reconstructionist's investigation. In this fatal crash, OSP collison reconstructionists determined the vehicle had an ACM with the pre-crash data needed to determine it was traveling 127 mph approximately 5 seconds before the crash.
 
OSP and ODOT urge drivers this Labor Day Holiday weekend to obey the posted speed laws for any highway or road you may be traveling on. Excessive speed continues to be a factor in half of all fatal traffic crashes, and it is the only factor in about 30 percent of Oregon fatal traffic crashes. Crash severity increases sharply with speeds in excess of 60 mph, and the probability of fatal injury increases significantly above 70 mph.
 
The Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff's Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation offer the following safety reminders for holiday travel this weekend:
  • Be watchful for emergency vehicles and workers. MOVE OVER if you are approaching any type of emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle which is stopped on the roadside with emergency lights activated.
  • Get rested before you are tested. Fatigued drivers are more frequent during holiday weekends because of increased travel and activity. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Stay up to date on road conditions by visiting TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1. Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. In work zones, even when workers are not present, all speed limits still apply and fines double. Inactive work zones still have equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway so drivers need to slow down and be alert.
  • Know before you go. When traveling anywhere, plan ahead and take know routes if possible. Visiting TripCheck.com on the Internet provides information on road and weather conditions, incidents and traffic delays, and links to numerous cameras along major routes.
  • Share the road. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially at night. Bicyclists and pedestrians need to make sure motorists can see them, and motorists needs to make sure they are seen.
  • Buckle up every trip, every time. Be sure to use child safety seats correctly.
  • Be alert and avoid distractions.
  • Don't drink and drive.

 
Everyone is urged to play an important part in keeping our highways and city streets safe by immediately reporting aggressive, dangerous, and intoxicated drivers to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865) or call 9-1-1.