Friday, March 26, 2010


News Release from: Oregon State Police

Four people were injured Friday morning in a multiple vehicle traffic crash one mile north of Gilchrist on Highway 97 during near blizzard conditions. A second non-injury crash and other subsequent near crashes occurred involving other vehicles approaching the first crash scene. Highway 97 was closed nearly three hours during the crash response and vehicle recovery.

According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Senior Trooper Joe Smith, on March 26, 2010 at approximately 8:30 a.m. a 2004 Nissan pickup driven by ROGER D. STANTON, age 65, from Bend, was southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 183 following a commercial truck pulling a semi-trailer loaded with fertilizer in near blizzard conditions with periods of zero visibility. Apparently blinded by the blowing snow while following the commercial truck and trailer, STANTON decided to pass while crossing the Gilchrist Bridge. As his pickup was along side the semi-trailer, he encountered a northbound 2001 Dodge pickup. STANTON braked, causing him to lose control on the slick highway and crash into the side of the semi-trailer and then into the left front corner of the Dodge pickup as its operator, WILLIAM G. BOWEN, age 60, from Crescent, Oregon tried to avoid a head-on crash.

A 2000 Dodge Durango driven by KENNETH R. LAFORCE, age 46, from Klamath Falls, was following BOWEN's pickup and was unable to stop. The Dodge Durango crashed into the back of BOWEN's pickup.

After this initial crash, several other vehicles approaching the area were involved in minor crashes or drove into the ditch to avoid a crash.

STANTON and the commercial truck driver, CARL P. DANIELS, age 54, from Yreka, California were not injured.

BOWEN, his wife LINDA, age 58, LAFORCE and one of four teenage girls in his Durango were transported by Crescent EMS or Chemult EMS ambulance to St. Charles Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

All persons involved were using safety restraints.

OSP troopers from Gilchrist and Bend offices responded. ODOT and above mentioned fire and medical personnel assisted.

Photograph Source: Oregon State Police

### ###

Contact Info: Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
Pager: (503) 323-3195