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Police investigating fatal crash at Highway 26 and Hillyard

A Gresham man has died following a two-vehicle accident Tuesday evening at Highway 26 and Southeast Hillyard Road.

Donald M. Bard, 54, of Gresham died at the scene, and another Gresham resident identified as Sun Bear Raven, 36, remains in serious condition at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham Police spokesman.

Police believe Raven’s excessive speed and reckless driving were the causes of the accident, Grandjean said.

A Gresham officer was monitoring traffic on Highway 26 at Southeast 267th Avenue at about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, when he saw a black 2002 Mercedes driven by Raven, westbound on the highway.

The officer estimated the speed at about 100 mph and entered traffic to follow and stop the suspect. Before he could even get behind the vehicle, it crashed into an eastbound 2008 Mazda driven by Bard as he was turning left onto eastbound Hillyard Road.

Police received reports of a reckless driver in a black Mercedes as far east as Sandy just before the accident.

As the officer arrived at the accident scene, the Mercedes caught fire. The officer and bystanders forced the vehicle open and pulled Raven out of the burning vehicle. The officer cut his hands breaking the glass, but was treated at a local hospital and has returned to duty.

Raven — who was driving with a suspended license because of a variety of traffic crimes, including drunken driving — has not been charged with a crime and remains hospitalized for his injuries. His arrests records in Clackamas and Multnomah counties date back to 1996 and include convictions of first-degree theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle, resisting arrest, first-degree possession of a controlled substance and supplying contraband.

Police are still investigating and had to close the highway in both directions, except for one eastbound lane from Hillyard to 267th Avenue. Those lanes remained closed through 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Bard's family – including his wife of 31 years, two children, mother, three brothers, one sister and two grandchildren – said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, "He was the kindest and most caring individual anyone could ever have the pleasure to know."

Born in Lewiston, Maine, he was a loyal Red Sox fan and served in the U.S. Navy, during which time he met his wife in 1980.

"He worked hard to provide for his family who he adored and cherished," the statement reads. "He will never be forgotten. We love you so much and will miss you dearly.”

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