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OSP: Hwy. 26 head-on DUII crash sends 3 to hospital


(Update: Hwy. 26 reopens)

A Warm Springs man faces likely DUII, assault and other charges in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 26 south of Mt. Hood Sunday afternoon that sent three people to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries and blocked the highway for about five hours, Oregon State Police said Monday.

The crash was reported around 2:30 p.m. at Highway 26 and East High Meadows Lane, near the state Highway 35 (Mt. Hood Highway) junction, OSP Captain Tim Fox said.

Troopers said the driver of the Honda Civic, Ramone Jamison Thomas, 41, of Warm Springs, had been the subject of a driving complaint prior to the crash.

The three people who received non-life-threatening injuries were taken to Oregon Health and Sciences University and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

A senior trooper went to OHSU for the DUII investigation and a blood draw was completed, as well as an affidavit and search warrant for a second draw, Fox said.

Thomas was interviewed at OHSU but not arrested, as he had been admitted to the facility. Fox said charges including DUII, assault, reckless driving and three counts of reckless endangering will be forwarded to the DA’s office.

In an unrelated DUII crash last Wednesday on U.S. Highway 20 in Tumalo that sent two drivers to the hospital, similar charges are expected against driver Holly Adams, 49, of Bend, Senior Trooper Jason Hansen said last week. Adams was released from St. Charles Bend later in the week while the other driver, Steven Piper, 69, of Sisters, remained in the hospital, in fair condition.

In that case as well, police reports will be sent to the DA’s office, as there is probable cause to charge Adams with DUII, assault, reckless driving and reckless endangering, Hansen said.

The senior trooper also expressed great concern and frustration about a rising number of DUII crashes that involve both alcohol and other drugs.

“We’re at our wits end,” Hansen told NewsChannel 21, noting the “24/7” nature of crashes involving alcohol, drugs or a “poly”drug combination” of both, including marijuana and/or prescription drugs. In some cases, they also involve methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin.

In the Tumalo crash, Hansen said the woman’s blood-alcohol content was measured at .23, nearly three times the legal limit, in a crash that occurred around 12:30 p.m. last Wednesday. He said there also was apparent involvement of prescription drugs.

“We like our good beer culture here, but we can’t believe, as troopers, as law enforcement — here you have Lyft, Uber, ride-share, and yet people still continue to choose to drink and drive,” Hansen said. “People are not just having a cocktail, but a bowl (of marijuana) or gummies, then a Zoloft. That just blows our mind.”

Most area highways “don’t have a barrier — we have a painted line, and we’re seeing people crossing into the other lane” while impaired far too often, said Hansen, who has been with OSP for 20 years, 18 of those in Bend. He noted there are 14 patrol troopers based in Bend,

“This is a shared roadway,” Hansen said. “People have the right to go to the store and not be taken out by (impaired drivers). … You kill someone, you’re going to prison.”

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