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Police Identify Victim in Ore. Highway 38 Crash into Umpqua RiverSalem-News.com Staff
Last year in Oregon, four people died in 4 separate traffic crashes during the 102-hour Fourth of July holiday period.
(REEDSPORT, Ore. ) - Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into the cause of Wednesday afternoon's fatal crash after a sport utility vehicle went into the Umpqua River as it traveled along Highway 38 about six miles east of Reedsport in Douglas County.
According to Lieutenant Steve Mitchell, on July 2 at approximately 3:49 p.m., a 1991 Ford Explorer driven by 54-year-old Kenneth Ray Richards, from Coos Bay, was traveling westbound on Highway 38 near milepost 6. For an unknown reason, it traveled off the highway into the Umpqua River where it became submerged. ODOT employees came across the crash scene and reported it to law enforcement and local emergency responders.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office and ODOT personnel went into the river and confirmed the driver was deceased. U.S. Coast Guard personnel responded to the scene with a boat and helicopter, and along with OSP Fish & Wildlife Division troopers in a second boat, they searched the river for any other possible occupants. Emergency responders determined the driver was alone in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
OSP troopers from the Coos Bay Area Command office are continuing the investigation. Senior Trooper Dave Timm is the lead investigator. Richards was not using safety restraints.
OSP was assisted at the scene by ODOT, Lower Umpqua Ambulance, Reedsport Police Department, Lakeside Fire Department Dive Team, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Medical Examiner, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The highway was restricted to one lane for the duration of scene investigation and victim recovery which lasted about 5 hours.
Source: Oregon State Police
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