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Feb-06-2007 11:56printcomments

One Dead, Five Seriously Injured in Alcohol-Related Crash

Witnesses reported that prior to the traffic crash, the 1989 Buick struck a lamp post in the Spirit Mountain Casino parking lot.

Crash scene
Photos: Oregon State Police

(GRAND RONDE) - One person died and five people received serious injuries Monday evening after a two-vehicle head-on crash on Highway 18 about four miles east of the Spirit Mountain casino.

This is the second crash at this location in the past two days involving an intoxicated driver crossing over and striking a vehicle in the oncoming lane, seriously injuring the other drivers and passengers.

OSP spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings says at approximately 8:40 PM, a red 1989 Buick Riviera driven by 58-year-old Thomas Johnston, from Woodburn, was eastbound on Highway 18 near milepost 27 when it veered across the centerline into the westbound lane and hit a black 2006 BMW sedan driven by 27-year-old Tru Dao, from Beaverton head-on.

Witnesses reported that prior to the traffic crash, the 1989 Buick driven by Johnston struck a lamp post in the Spirit Mountain Casino parking lot.

picture of car wrecked in crashIt then continued, hitting a traffic pylon on Highway 18 near the casino before traveling eastbound until it crashed into the 2006 BMW.

Johnston was using safety restraints and was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Hospital.

He reportedly died of injuries sustained in the crash at approximately 2:44 AM early Tuesday morning.

Preliminary testing revealed Johnston had a high blood alcohol level at the time of the crash.

Dao, age 27, from Tigard, was using safety restraints and was seriously injured.

He was transported by ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville.

His car's airbags deployed.

Right front passenger, 21-year-old Tai Nguyen, from Portland, received serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville.

Left rear passenger, 26-year-old Vihn Huynh, of Beaverton, received serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to the Salem Hospital.

Center rear passenger, 23-year-old Hau Le, of Beaverton, received serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to the Salem Hospital.

Right rear passenger, 23-year-old Tu Tran, of Beaverton, received serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to the Salem Hospital.

OSP troopers were assisted at the scene by Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Polk County Sheriff's Office, West Valley Fire Department, and ODOT.

The highway was closed for approximately two hours




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Mandi June 7, 2008 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

Hi elaine my email is mandi_dehaven@hotmail.com My brother in doing better however hasn't been able to work in well over 1 1/2 years from this horribel accident!


Elaine Again February 13, 2007 5:14 pm (Pacific time)

Can anyone put me in touch with Mandi, the sister of Vinh Huynh? Could you at the Salem news give her my email please? I would really like to hear from her. Thank you so much


Elaine February 12, 2007 6:56 pm (Pacific time)

My brother was the drunk driver. This was not normal behavior for him! So sorry. Our prayers are with you and your family. He was a good man, son, brother and uncle. God bless you all.


Mandi February 9, 2007 11:06 pm (Pacific time)

My brother was Vinh huynh and to make this story a bit more accurate, out of the 5 guys in the BMW, my brother was the only one that was in serious condition and is still hospitalized. My brother was going with friends. If the Drunk Driver would have survived he would have been charged with attempted murder, we will do what we can in regards to Spirit mountain over serving liquor to make sure this doesn't happen to any other families! Thanks for all your prayers!


JAFO February 6, 2007 4:28 pm (Pacific time)

what's our alcohol lobby.,I mean the OLCC doing? The people get drunk and drive and Kill others and themselves, no mention of OLCC's efforts to intercede, but the licquor still flows. Great effing combination.,drinking,gambling and driving! If he hadn't have died in the accident he should have been sent to Salem with Taser suspect for interrogation.,to begin with. what sympathy I have goes to those innocent who were injured.


Chad February 6, 2007 1:28 pm (Pacific time)

Does anyone know why a second Helicopter was not called in to transport the critical people?

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