3 dead, 8 injured in weekend NW Oregon crashes

Debris litters the scene where a man died when the vehicle he was in smashed into a Highway 47 underpass below Oregon Highway 26 over the weekend. (Oregon State Police)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three people are dead and another eight are injured after a series of crashes in northwest Oregon over the weekend.

A man in this pickup died when it crashed into Detroit Lake off Highway 22E. It’s shown being towed out of the lake. (Courtesy Oregon State Police)

In one of those crashes, a man died when he drove off Highway 22E into Detroit Lake in Marion County shortly before midnight Saturday.

“For an unknown reason, [the driver] lost control and the pickup crossed the highway — where it went down a steep embankment into Detroit Lake and submerged under the water’s surface,” Oregon State Police reported.

The crash was witnessed by people traveling eastbound.

“About an hour after the crash occurred, two OSP troopers who responded to the scene removed their duty gear and entered the water,” OSP reported. “They found the pickup’s occupant submerged about 15 feet under water inside the cab showing no sign of life.”

The driver has been identified as Michael Joseph Fischer Jr., a 35-year-old from Salem, Ore.

Another person died when he smashed into an underpass on Highway 47 below Highway 26. An off-duty police officer found the crash, driving up on a vehicle that had “split apart on impact,” Oregon State Police reported.

Rodger Michael Hepburn, 49, from West Linn, was speeding when his car veered left and struck a bridge pillar head-on. Hepburn was the lone passenger in the car and died at the scene.

Highway 47 at this spot was closed for about six hours Sunday for the investigation and cleanup.

Off Highway 6 Sunday, a Tillamook man died when the vehicle he was in drove into the Wilson River east of Tillamook, Ore. This happened around 7:50 a.m. Sunday.

He was in a Jeep Patriot SUV, heading west on Highway 6 near milepost 6. The Jeep “left the highway, struck a tree and rolled down an embankment,” said OSP Sgt. Greg Plummer in a prepared statement, “to where it came to rest on its top submerged in Wilson River.”

Two anglers reportedly heard the crash and went to help while calling 911. They said they could see the Jeep’s tires coming out of the water, and were able to help the driver got out. The driver is identified by OSP as Juan Getcemani De La Torre, a 23-year-old from Tillamook.

His passenger, 43-year-old Atilano Vargas Sanches of Tillamook, was taken by ambulance to Tillamook Regional Medical Center. Police said he died at the hospital.

Both occupants were found to be wearing safety restraints. The car’s airbags also deployed during the crash. Authorities are still looking into exactly why Sanches died.

Two teens were hurt on Highway 213 at the Toliver Road intersection near Mollala, Ore. The driver, identified as 18-year-old Sarah Musgrove, is in serious condition Sunday, July 14, 2013. (Courtesy Oregon State Police)

In another crash, two teens were hurt on Highway 213 at the Toliver Road intersection near Mollala, Ore. The driver,  identified as 18-year-old Sarah Musgrove, is in serious condition. State police believe Musgrove was turning her SUV south onto Highway 213 when a northbound semi-truck hit the SUV’s driver side.

Finally, six people were hurt when a car hit a truck on Highway 6 west of Banks, Ore. In that crash, Oregon state police said the 18-year-old truck driver made an illegal left turn and was hit by a Volvo.

Six people were injured when this Volvo hit this truck west of Banks, Ore., July 13, 2013, OSP reported. (Courtesy OSP)

Nine people were in the truck when it happened, OSP reported. Four of them were in the pickup bed and were thrown over a guard rail and into the bushes.

Those four and the two people in the Volvo were taken to the hospital. Their injures are described as not life threatening.

Joel Silva, an 18-year-old from Forest Grove, was ticketed on a charge of being a minor in possession. However, investigators said alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

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