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Three Redmond residents killed in SUV-truck crash on icy Hwy. 97 near Crooked River Bridge

(Update: Adding video, sheriff's office comments, vigil planned, other info)

OSP says SUV driver was passing, lost control

TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three Redmond residents were killed Monday night when an SUV driver lost control while passing on icy Highway 97 north of Terrebonne and it slid into the oncoming lane, colliding with a utility truck, Oregon State Police said Tuesday.

Troopers and other emergency personnel responded shortly before 10 p.m. to the two-vehicle crash on Highway 97 near milepost 113, just south of the “High Bridge” over the Crooked River Gorge.

A preliminary investigation found that Jared Lewis, 39, was driving north in a Dodge Durango with two passengers and lost control while passing on the icy roadway, troopers said.

The Durango spun broadside into the southbound lane, where it collided with an International 749 utility truck driven by a 26-year-old Bandon man, OSP said. Troopers said he was traveling with several utility vehicles from Washington state to California.

Lewis and his passengers, Kristopher Frisbee, 44, and Heather Good, 40, sustained fatal injuries, troopers said. The utility truck driver was uninjured, they added.

The crash and investigation closed Highway 97 at the crash scene for about five hours, the agency said.

OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Redmond Fire Department and ODOT.

A candlelight vigil is planned next Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Redmond's Sam Johnson Park in honor of those who died.

Four people died on Central Oregon roads Monday -- the only fatal crashes in Oregon in the first days of the new year, Oregon State Police said.

Early in the morning, a Redmond man was killed in a head-on crash on state Highway 126 east of Powell Butte. There were numerous other slide-offs, rollovers and crashes around the region in Monday's snowy weather.

“It’s unfortunate for everyone involved," Deschutes County sheriff's Sgt. Jayson janes said. "And if people can just slow down and use extra caution this time of year, that’s what we want. We want everyone to be on our roadways to be safe and to get where they are going.”

“I think initially you know, at the beginning of the year (drivers) aren’t used to it. It takes a little while to get used to it," Janes said. "And they still leave for work same time that they normally do, so they try to go the same speed that they are used to. And when you are going the normal speed that you would on dry pavement, you can’t react accordingly or stop like you used to.”

There were 15 percent more fatal crashes in Oregon in 2021 than the previous year. In the last six months, there were more than 250 reported crashes on Highway 97 and just over 100 on Highway 26.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

Comments

14 Comments

  1. Truth be told, there are too many inexperienced drivers on the roads. Mandatory winter driving courses may be in order. Too many people here who have never seen snow let alone driven in it. I really wish people would just relax and practice patients on the roads.

    1. That section of 97 is a passing zone. But it doesn’t matter usually in those conditions because traffic just carves out one lane, and to pass you have to venture out onto snow- and ice-covered pavement.

  2. SLow down. No hurry. I was driving to visit my elderly mother going about 30 yesterday. Someone, in the same type of trick, passed a line of us going 60. Just because you have a 4×4 doesn’t mean you have better traction. Very sad.

  3. This is very sad but it will happen all the time until the Cops get off there butts & start patroling & writing TICKETS for excess speed , Tailgating on all streets and the HORN HONKING it will get someone killed one day

    1. The cops do patrol but you need to understand that there are only so many of them
      at a given time, and like everyone else, they are short staffed, and those that are
      patroling can’t be everywhere and see everything.

  4. Things are not always as they appear either, just something to keep in mind… Such as, initially, they believed all this to be true, until it was investigated further. He was NOT the one driving. He was NOT passing actually, &he was not exceeding the speed limit either. I can’t say I don’t think what is it looks like actually happened, but either way in this case, no matter who was driving the Durango, it might not be their fault at all. He was a careful driver, they all were actually. I knew all 3 of them closely. Jared very closely, Heather for the longest most of my life actually. I agree on all accounts about the driving conditions, what one should or shouldn’t do when they get behind the wheel, everything that was commented previous to this. But, it IS good to keep in mind what you first hear, isn’t always true. He would’ve NEVER taken a risk like passing, on those roads in that condition, in that car by himself but ESPECIALLY with others in the car. I needed to say something because I feel it’s wrong that he’s made out to look irresponsible, wreckless, responsible for lives lost of 2 people that he cared about &his own or that this was avoidable had he made “better choices” so to speak, this isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter who was driving because they’re all gone. And they were not at fault. I sure hope the rest of the information at some point gets released because the responsible party should one day have to answer for what they did…. Whoever that may be.

    Devastating. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

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