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State police eye alcohol in deadly crash

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Highway 101 fatal crash
The wreckage of two vehicles was splayed across Highway 101 in south Depoe Bay Wednesday night after a Ford F350 (left) drifted across the center line and collided head-on with a Kia Spectra, leaving one driver dead and another critically injured and under investigation. (Photo by Depoe Bay Fire District)

DEPOE BAY — State troopers are exploring the fatal role intoxication may have played in a May 19 two-car crash here that left one driver dead and another critically injured.

Police say the head-on accident happened Wednesday night at the south end of town on Hwy. 101 after a northbound Ford F350 truck operated by Jesus Perez, 25, of Salem, crossed into the southbound lane and collided with a Kia Spectra driven by George Linden III, 46, of Toledo.

Though help was just minutes away from firefighters and ambulance personnel who spilled from the Depoe Bay Fire Station at 11:24 p.m., first responders found both men pinned in their mangled vehicles with Linden dead and Perez critically injured. With wreckage splayed across both lanes of the highway, DBFD battalion chief Tom Jackson called for backup from Newport Fire Dept. and an extra ambulance and crew from PacWest Ambulance.

Jackson said the only survivor, Perez, was transported to an emergency landing zone at Government Point State Park where the driver was airlifted by helicopter and flown to a Salem hospital. Meanwhile, the highway was closed for hours as state troopers gathered evidence.

“Alcohol is being investigated as a possible contributing factor, definitely,” reported Oregon State Police Lt. Brian Tucker, commander of the Newport OSP detachment whose troopers worked 24 hours straight to buttress a potential criminal case.

Tucker, with a dozen years of patrol experience, said dangerous driving seems to be on the upswing at the Oregon coast.

“Statistically I couldn’t say, but anecdotally it appears to be growing with an increase in traffic,” he observed.

Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley is a simple writer who collects sniper rifles for a hobby. During an astonishing publishing career that spans five decades and continues at Lincoln City Homepage, he has collected 17 awards for excellence in journalism from various organizations including nine first-place Best Writing awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

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