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Terrebonne motorcyclist killed in Hwy. 97 crash at O’Neil Jct.

Hwy 97 ONeil Jct. fatal crash 1231
Oregon State Police
Fatal crash on Highway 97 at O'Neil Junction north of Redmond closed the roads for hours

(Update: OSP releases details of crash)

Troopers say SUV driver pulled out in front of northbound traffic

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A 63-year-old Terrebonne man was killed Tuesday when the driver of an SUV pulled out in front of his motorcycle and another vehicle on Highway 97 at the O'Neil Junction, Oregon State Police said Wednesday.

Troopers and emergency personnel responded around 3:30 p.m. to the three-vehicle crash at the highway's intersection with state Highway 370 (the O'Neil Highway).

OSP said a preliminary investigation found that a 70-year-old Terrebonne man driving a Chevy Suburban pulling a trailer pulled out in front of a northbound Harley Davidson motorcycle operated by Charles Smith of Terrebonne and a car driven by a 62-year-old Madras woman.

Smith was flown by Life Flight helicopter to St. Charles Bend, where he was pronounced dead, troopers said. The other two drivers were unhurt.

No charges or citations were immediately issued, but troopers said the crash remains under investigation.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Redmond police and ODOT.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and Redmond Fire crews also responded to the crash scene near milepost 118, three miles south of Terrebonne.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



      1. I don’t see how there couldn’t be charges when someone pulls out in front of
        oncoming traffic, unless there was a medical issue, but I’ve been wrong before…

  1. When are the “powers that be” going to realize that elderly drivers need to PROVE that they are capable of operating a motor vehicle safely?!? This is an increasing problem here in central Oregon, what with the aging local population and the folks retiring here. It was drummed into me as a kid that driving is not a right, it is a PRIVILEGE. As far as I am concerned, anyone over the age of, say, 55 should be REQUIRED to take an eye exam and driving test AT MINIMUM every two years in order to keep their driver’s license. Failure to do so should result in revocation of their driver’s license. I DON’T CARE how well connected folks in this age class may be, politically or financially. I DON’T CARE how much money they may have. The bottom line is, as we get older, our senses tend to decline and we become less safe on the open road–especially when in dense traffic situations. I’m 50 years old. When I reach 55, I will gladly submit to such testing as I have suggested, should it be required at that time. I certainly do not want to be the cause of someone being injured or killed because my senses and judgement are impaired by age and slower cognitive function.

      1. By the age of 65 or 70, I agree. I moved here years ago because my Mom had never drove a car in her life, and Dad was losing it, pulling out in front of cars at stop signs, scaring the crap out of my Mom. He did have pre existing medical conditions but so do many of us in this age group. I’d be happy to do so myself.

      2. not agreeing or disagreeing with… but what the hell man? You only degrade the point you are trying to make by being all bellicose – prove your point with information, not emo attitude

  2. Not good. As for the testing, base it on driving record and severity of any infractions, add a points system if needed to track your driving score. As for mandatory testing, trying to get anything passed that has a direct effect on the people writing them, good luck on that. There will be a loophole for any elected official, the Salem Overlords are above us mere voters.

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