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Accidents and Crashes

California woman killed, 3 people injured in Hwy. 97 head-on crash south of Madras

HIghway 97 crash south of Madras jcso 729
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Two-vehicle crash brought numerous first-responders to Highway 97 south of Madras Thursday afternoon
Highway 97 crash south of Madras ODOT 729-4
ODOT TripCheck

(Update: OSP releases information)

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – A California woman was killed and three other people were injured in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 97 south of Madras Thursday afternoon, Oregon State Police reported.

Troopers and other emergency personnel responded around 12:45 p.m. to the crash near milepost 104, about nine miles south of Madras, OSP Captain Tim Fox said.

A preliminary investigation found that a 51-year-old Madras man was heading north when his car, a Chevy Impala, left the roadway and he lost control. The car entered the southbound lane, colliding with a Mazda CX-5 driven by a 70-year-old man from Bothell, Washington, Fox said.

A passenger in the Impala, Donna Reynaga, 52, of Ontario, California, sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene, Fox said.

The Impala’s driver was taken by air ambulance to the hospital. The Mazda driver and his passenger, a 62-year-old Bothell, Washington woman, also were taken to the hospital with injuries.

Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn said the highway was closed between Jericho and Iris lanes and urged motorists to use state Highway 361 (the Old Culver Highway) as a detour.

ODOT's initial alert indicated an "extensive closure" was anticipated, with northbound traffic rerouted to the Culver Highway. "Motorists should avoid travel in the area for the time being," the agency said.

Heckathorn later confirmed the detour was established in both directions and that a backlog of semi-trucks had been cleared.

The highway reopened between Madras and Juniper Butte shortly before 6 p.m.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County EMS and ODOT.

Around 4:30 p.m., another injury crash, involving a car and semi truck, closed Highway 97 for close to an hour two miles north of Bend, near Bowery Lane, ODOT reported.

Track traffic updates at our ODOT TripCheck page.

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  1. I use this stretch of the highway often. ODOT has been clear it will not receive serious upgrades (read full middle turn lanes or more) for about 20 years. This is a tough combination of local access roads and a major highway. Combine this with soooo many tourists who are not aware of the lack of turn lanes. Jericho Lane has access to Haystack Lake and lots of camping. It is also a Highway access to the Cove State Park. Then you add in high speeds. Now we have another terrible loss of life on top of other people with serious, possibly life altering injuries. I must admit, I get angry every time I learn of another terrible accident and loss of life, I look to see if I know who has died or been injured. I hope those injured recover fully. My heart hurts for the family who lost a loved one today.

    1. It is a tragedy all around and not the best stretch of highway.

      People need to drive more responsible and look ahead. Seems like there is a lot of angry folks out driving, and many times in a hurry.

        1. Very sad for all involved. How many more needless head-on collisions/deaths will be tolerated before median barriers are installed on Hwy97, from the California border to the Columbia? What is Rep. Cliff Bentz doing to address this long-overdue issue regarding Oregon’s ‘blood alley’? Something needs to be done, saying “drive slower” or “thoughts and prayers” does nothing.

    2. I understand ODOT is looking at closing some of the intersections along that stretch in an attempt to make is safe, but yes that’s a dangerous section of highway.

  2. This is a terribly dangerous stretch of highway. There needs to be more passing lanes and fewer feeder roads open. And by all means SLOW THE $#%@ down people!

    1. It isn’t a great section of highway but like most other roads,
      if people drive a decent speed, don’t tailgate and aren’t talking
      on their phones or doing makeup, they are perfectly safe.
      Not saying that’s what happened in this accident, just sayin…

  3. I drive this everyday back and forth to work I have to drive it to go home at 330 I agree SLOW the f#$& down people they drive 80 to 90 on that highway like it’s nothing and get mad when your doing 60 the speed limit is 55 but there in to big of a hurry and this is what happens

    1. No there was another injury crash near Bowery Lane, we had posted traffic alert on social media when my and 12,500 folks’ power went out, some of us for 3 hours. So nearly 100 comments backed up. Got the news out first.

  4. OSP & local Law enforcement need to patrol from La Pine to Madres as Hwy 97 is a death trap you can drive the speed limit & get ran over by the speeders The Bend Parkway is a joke & from Bend to Redmond what a joke No Law enforcement & these drivers know it Wait till someone important gets killed then they will do something

    1. “Crash data from the Oregon Department of Transportation shows 2020 was the deadliest year in recent memory along U.S. Highway 97 through Central Oregon from Klamath Falls to Madras. Twenty people died in 17 crashes last year, the data shows. That is the same number as the previous two years combined, when 19 fatal crashes killed 20 people in 2018 and 2019.” Bend Bulletin 3/21

      I’m sure everyone of these people were “important.”

  5. This is a crime that the state of Oregon take are highway tax dollars they get from the gas tax and use that money in Portland on light rail. The amount of traffic 97 carries it should be a 4 lane HWY with a center divider from Washington to California

    1. They need an interstate for sure. With an interstate on this side, local traffic can use the highway as it was intended. Instead, we are trying to do maintenance on a highway that is not designed to be used as it is being used currently.

      Also, thank you for your service. My spouse was a seabee.

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