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Update #3: Double Fatal Traffic Crash - Interstate 84 west of Baker City
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

(Baker City, Oregon) - Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Thursday morning's single vehicle double fatal rollover crash on Interstate 84 about five miles west of Baker City. This news release will provide updated information regarding seriously injured passengers. No additional details are being eleased because this is an ongoing investigation.
On November 12, 2009 at approximately 5:20 a.m. a 2002 Ford F-350 van driven by NICOLE ELAINE BYRD, age 25, from Federal Heights, Colorado was westbound with fifteen (15) passengers on Interstate 84 near milepost 302 after making a brief stop in Baker City. As the van was westbound on icy highway conditions, it drove off the roadway and rolled multiple times coming to rest on its top about 50 yards from the westbound lanes near a bordering frontage road.
Thirteen of the sixteen are believed to have been ejected from the van. All occupants were transported to hospitals in La Grande, Baker City and Boise, Idaho. The majority of injured occupants have been treated and released.
BYRD was transported to St. Elizabeth Health Services hospital in Baker City and she was released following treatment.
Two passengers, JOSHUA JOHN PISCHURA, age 20, from Geneva, Ohio and TAUNE NICOLE WINTER PEPPER, age 23, from Deer Trail, Colorado died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Five passengers identified below are still in the Intensive Care Unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho:
  • AARON STEARLING WERNTZ, age 19, from Freeport, Illinois
  • CHRISTINE SANDRA AKI, age 18, from Golden, Colorado
  • PHILLIP JOEL HARRIS, age 24, from Attalla, Alabama
  • WILLIAM CHRIS RODGERS, age 22, from Lakewood, Colorado
OSP troopers from the Baker City office are continuing the investigation with the assistance of OSP collision reconstructionists. Safety restraint use information is pending confirmation by investigating troopers and is not anticipated to be released until the investigation is completed and reviewed by the Baker County District Attorney's Office.
Questions for New Life Worship Center can be directed to (303) 428-9535.
No additional investigative information is anticipated to be released until reviewed by the District Attorney's office.