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Driver, 15, killed, 2 other youths injured in Harney Co. crash


A 15-year-old Burns boy was killed and two young passengers were injured Thursday night when the pickup he was driving left Highway 78 east of Burns and rolled several times, Oregon State Police said Friday.

Around 7 p.m., troopers and medics rushed to the scene of the single-vehicle crash on Highway 78 near milepost 18, about 10 miles west of Crane and 18 miles east of Burns, said OSP Captain Bill Fugate.

A preliminary investigation revealed a 1995 Nissan extra-cab pickup driven by the 15-year-old was heading east when it drifted off the shoulder and the driver over-corrected causing the pickup to roll several times on the highway. None of the three occupants were wearing a seat belt, and all were thrown from the truck, Fugate said.

The driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. The front right passenger, a 14 year old boy from Burns, was critically injured and was flown by air ambulance to Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.

The rear passenger, the driver’s 10-year-old brother, was taken by ambulance to Bend for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Fugate said.

Troopers said distracted driving was being investigated as a possible contributing factor. They also said the “initial investigation indicates the juveniles did not have permission to be operating the vehicle.”

OSP was assisted on scene by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, Harney EMS and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

No names were released. Fugate said the investigation is ongoing and more information will be released when it becomes available.

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