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Speed led to fatal crash

The Oregon State Police investigation into the cause of the Aug. 26 single-vehicle fatal traffic crash north of Madras that killed the driver and seriously injured a passenger has confirmed the vehicle was driving 127 mph seconds before the crash.
   Information initially released indicated that on Aug. 26, at approximately 2:10 a.m., a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro driven by David Ramirez, 26, of Madras, was southbound on U.S. Highway 97 near milepost 71.
   Ramirez lost control and the car slid off the west side shoulder, where it rolled several times before coming to rest in a 30-foot ravine. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and a 19-year old female passenger was seriously injured.
   As part of the crash investigation, OSP collision reconstructionists checked for available information to determine vehicle speed at the time of the crash.
   The inspection included determining if the vehicle was equipped with an airbag control module that also records precrash data, including speed, brake status, seat belt use and other information.
   Depending on a vehicle's make and model, some vehicles' modules record precrash and crash data that is very useful to a collision reconstructionist's investigation. In this fatal crash, OSP collison reconstructionists determined the vehicle had an ACM with the precrash data needed to determine it was traveling 127 mph approximately five seconds before the crash.
   Excess speed is the main factor in half of all fatal traffic crashes, and it is the only factor in about 30 percent of Oregon fatal traffic crashes. Crash severity increases sharply with speeds in excess of 60 mph, and the probability of fatal injury increases significantly above 70 mph.