Oregon State Police troopers arrested a Florence-area man August 3rd on Manslaughter and DUII charges, related to the July 9th two-vehicle traffic crash on Highway 101 three miles south of Florence--the subject of the headline story in the August BEE.
The other driver in the collision, Rebecca Marie Howe, an Inner Southeast Portland resident and the former owner of Sellwood's KISS Books, had been in a coma, in critical condition, until life support was removed and she passed away one week later.
Rodney L. Deris, age 53, from Florence, was arrested without incident at his home. He was lodged in Lane County Circuit Court for Manslaughter in the Second Degree, and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
On July 9, 2006 at approximately 12:40 p.m., a 2005 Dodge pickup driven by Deris was southbound on Highway 101 when it drove off into a ditch on the right shoulder of the highway, then came back onto the road and crossed the centerline. The Dodge pickup crashed nearly head-on with a northbound 1993 Honda Civic four-door driven by Rebecca Howe, age 47, from Southeast Portland.
Howe was first transported to Peace Harbor Hospital in Florence, then transferred by ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene where she was in critical condition until her death on July 16th. She had been using safety restraints.
Deris was also using safety restraints and received minor injuries. He was transported to Peace Harbor Hospital where he was treated and released.
Oregon State Police troopers from Florence and Springfield conducted the investigation of the fatal accident, with the assistance of the Lane County District Attorney's Office.