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Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 138W northwest of Sutherlin
Sergeant Lynn Withers
Oregon State Police - Roseburg
(541) 440-3334

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
A 66-year old man died late Monday night when his car drove off the side of Highway 138W near the Tyee curves northwest of Sutherlin and came to rest on its side in a ditch. Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation which may have been caused by a medical problem suffered by the driver prior to the crash.
On December 28, 2009 at approximately 11:20 p.m. a passing motorist spotted a car on its side in a ditch along the westbound shoulder of Highway 138W near milepost 14. OSP, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Fire/EMS, Kellogg Fire Department and ODOT responded to the scene. The lone occupant was found deceased with safety restraints in use. His name is withheld pending next of kin notification.
Preliminary investigation indicates the vehicle driven by LAURENCE NEAL BURKE, age 66, from Reedsport, was westbound in a 1991 Mazda Miata when it traveled into the ditch along the westbound shoulder for about 100 feet before striking a dirt embankment and rocks. The car flipped and landed on its driver side facing eastbound. There were no braking or evasive tire marks on the roadway prior to the crash scene.
OSP and the responding Douglas County medical examiner are investigating the possibility that the driver suffered some type of medical problem just prior to the crash.