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Driver jailed in fatal Hwy. 97 DUII crash near Sunriver


A Klamath Falls woman was arraigned Friday on manslaughter, drugged-driving and other charges in a the August 2017 crash of her speeding, passing car into an ODOT emergency response pickup on Highway 97 near Sunriver that claimed the life of her passenger.

Court records show Pamela Lois Vanworth, 59, was booked into the Deschutes County Jail on Thursday on a seven-count indictment issued in May.

Vanworth faces charges of second-degree manslaughter, DUII-controlled substance, possession of a “usable quantity” of methamphetamine, fourth-degree assault, reckless driving and two counts of recklessly endangering another person.

On Aug. 25, 2017, Oregon State Police said Vanworth was driving a 2004 Scion BX “at a very high rate of speed” heading south on Highway 97 when she lost control of the car after passing numerous vehicles and crossed into the northbound lane, crashing into a Ford F-350 ODOT incident response truck driven by John Benson, 36, of Redmond.

The crash occurred about 10 miles north of La Pine, south of Vandevert and Sugar Pine Butte roads.

Vanworth’s passenger, Lisa Ann Garcia-Ramirez, 45, of Bakersfield, died at the scene. Vanworth and Benson were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Bend.

Court records show a nationwide arrest warrant was issued in mid-July for Vanworth. She was arraigned Friday afternoon before Circuit Judge Randy Miller, who scheduled a Sept. 17 plea hearing.

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