Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are asking for the public’s help in locating a truck and its driver who they believe witnessed a fatal accident on July 19, 2013, on Highway 97, 7 miles north of Madras.
According to an OSP press release, at approximately 5:30 p.m., a truck was traveling south on Highway 97 near mile marker 89. A group of traffic began passing the slower moving truck. One of the vehicles that attempted to pass was a rented 2013 Subaru Legacy, driven by 91-year-old Warren Chester Ward.
Unfortunately, Ward did not have sufficient clearance to complete the pass. Ward’s vehicle collided head-on with a northbound 1991 Ford Explorer driven by 71-year-old Harold M. Curtis.
Both drivers died at the scene. Curtis’ passenger suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The driver stayed at the scene until authorities arrived but left before crash investigators had a chance to speak with him or her.
OSP are asking for statements from all who witnessed the crash.
“To date, OSP troopers identified and interviewed only one witness who remained at the scene and they believe there were others. To help generate contact from other witnesses, OSP is releasing two photographs obtained from arriving troopers’ in-car video systems. The two photographs show a white commercial truck stopped on the southbound shoulder just south of the crash scene that left before troopers could confirm if its driver was a witness. Troopers weren’t able to clearly identify the company name, and the vehicle license plate, possibly white in color, appears to be non-Oregon issued,” the press release states.
While most states do not hold witnesses accountable, Oregon does. Law 811.705 states that witnesses who have left the scene of an accident before their statement has been taken may even receive a ticket.
- • penalty
(1)A person commits the offense of failure to perform the duties of a witness to an accident if the person:
(a)Witnesses an accident that results in injury or death to any person or causes damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by any person; and
(b)Does not furnish to the driver or occupant of such vehicles or injured person, the true name and address of the witness.
(2)The offense described in this section, failure to perform the duties of a witness to an accident, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §575]