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Preliminary Post-Christmas Holiday Period Statistics
12/29/2008
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Preliminary information for this year's 102-hour Christmas holiday period indicates traffic fatalities were slightly higher and Oregon State Police (OSP) DUII arrests equaled last year's figures in Oregon.
 
Known fatal traffic crashes investigated by Oregon law enforcement agencies between 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 24th, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, December 28th, reflects five people were killed in five separate traffic crashes. During last year's Christmas holiday period, two people were killed in two separate crashes. According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) statistics, an average of 4 fatalities have occurred each year over this holiday period during the last ten years.
 
The following is a brief review of this year's Christmas holiday period known traffic fatalities:
  • On December 24th at 6:30 p.m. a 21-year old Shady Cove man died in a single vehicle crash on Highway 234 northeast of Gold Hill. Speed and alcohol are possible contributing factors. Oregon State Police is the lead investigating agency.
  • On December 25th at 1:53 p.m. a 68-year old Fairview man reportedly suffered a heart attack and crashed into a telephone pole on a Gresham street. The victim was pronounced deceased after arriving at an area hospital. Gresham Police Department is the lead investigating agency.
  • On December 26th at 10:00 p.m. a 57-year old Milwaukie man was struck by a vehicle trying to cross Highway 99E north of Gladstone. The victim died the next morning at a Portland-area hospital. Alcohol, limited visibility and unlawful attempting to cross the highway are contributing factors. Oregon State Police is the lead investigating agency.
  • On December 27th at 7:15 p.m. a 25-year old Corvallis woman was a passenger in a car involved in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 101 north of Seal Rock. She died after arriving at a Newport-area hospital. Oregon State Police is the lead investigating agency.
  • On December 28th at approximately 2:45 a.m. a commercial tanker truck and tanker trailer drove off southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 283, crashed and caught fire. The vehicle was destroyed and the remains of a 56-year old male driver from Scappoose were found in the burned wreckage.
 
OSP preliminary DUII enforcement statistics shows troopers arrested 50 impaired drivers. State troopers arrested nearly 50 DUII drivers last year and 59 DUII drivers during the 2006 Christmas holiday period.
 
The OSP Bend Area Command office reported 9 DUII arrests, followed by OSP offices in Portland and Central Point areas each with 8 DUII arrests. Six of the OSP Central Point office arrests were on Saturday. The Springfield OSP office reported 6 DUII arrests; the OSP Salem office reported 5 DUII arrests; and, OSP offices in Klamath Falls and Roseburg each reported 4 DUII arrests. The four DUII arrests reported by the Klamath Falls OSP office happened Friday night / Saturday morning as part of an interagency DUII enforcement effort involving OSP, Klamath County Sheriff's Office and Klamath Falls Police Department.
 
One unusual DUII arrest of note occurred December 26th in central Oregon following a report of a traffic crash in the Crooked River Ranch area. Upon arrival the trooper determined a vehicle had only slid off the highway and was occupied by a 54-year old Redmond woman and a dog. The woman was transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond where a preliminary blood test showed her blood alcohol level was .469 percent, nearly six times the legal .08 limit in every state. She was cited to appear on the DUII charge.
 
OSP, county sheriff departments, city police agencies and ODOT are preparing for the upcoming extended New Year's holiday weekend starting 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 31st, through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 4th. During last year's 78-hour New Year's holiday period, four people died in four separate traffic crashes on Oregon roads. According to FARS, an average of more than five fatalities has happened each year over this holiday period during the last ten years.
 
A NHTSA national study released last year showed the daily death toll from impaired driving crashes during the Christmas and New Year's holiday periods is significantly more than for the rest of the year. The report showed from 2001 - 2005, an average of 36 fatalities occurred per day on America's roadways as a result of crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That number increased to 45 per day during the Christmas period and to 54 per day over the New Year's holiday.

 
Oregon law enforcement agencies and ODOT urge holiday travelers to remember these tips:

  • Don't drink and drive ("Buzzed driving is drunk driving"), and don't ride with anyone who has had too much to drink.
  • Never use illegal drugs.
  • Volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • If someone who's been drinking insists on driving, take his/her keys.
  • If hosting a gathering, provide non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Use public transit or local drive-home services provided by taxis and other companies.
  • Always use safety restraints.
  • Avoid travel after midnight, especially on weekends or holidays.
  • Drive defensively at all times.
  • Report any suspected impaired driving by calling 1-800-24DRUNK (800-243-7865) or
          9-1-1.
 
Oregon public safety responders ask everyone to think of the safety of emergency responders working everyday and to remember we have a "Move Over Law." It states if you are driving up behind any type of police car or emergency vehicle pulled over on the roadside with emergency lights flashing, you must:

  • Move over into another lane.
  • If you can't safely change lanes, slow down.
  • In all cases, the driver must try to provide as much room as possible for the emergency vehicle.