Headed to Young Life camp

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF OSP - Two people died in a three-vehicle crash July 10, on U.S. Highway 97, between Shaniko and Kent.A son and mother on the way to the Young Life Washington Family Ranch near Antelope died July 10, as a result of a three-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 97, between Shaniko and Kent.

Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into the afternoon traffic crash that resulted in the deaths of the two, Jacques Robert Gordon, 21, and Renee M. Parent, 54, both of Burien, Wash.

According to OSP Sgt. Les Kipper, on July 10, at approximately 2:45 p.m., a 2005 Toyota Corolla, driven by Gordon, was southbound on Highway 97 near milepost 53. For an unknown reason, the Toyota moved into the northbound lane, and was attempting to pass a southbound commercial truck when the car's driver lost control as a northbound commercial truck approached.

The car crossed broadside toward the southbound lane and was struck in the driver's side in the northbound lane by the commercial truck driven by Gene E. Weller II, 58, from Yucaipa, Calif.

After the initial collision, the southbound commercial truck, driven by Lawrence E. Handel, 67, of Hermiston, was involved in a secondary collision, getting sideswiped by the northbound truck driven by Weller. The northbound truck then traveled off the east side of the highway before coming to rest.

With the help of people who stopped at the scene, Weller, who was using safety restraints, got out of his truck and later was taken by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of nonlife-threatening injuries.

Gordon and Parent were pronounced deceased at the scene.

Handel was not injured.

The highway was closed for several hours before being open to one lane as the scene investigation progressed.

OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are investigating the cause of the crash. Trooper Matt Zistel, formerly of Culver, is the lead investigator.

Assistance at the scene was provided by Sherman County Sheriff's Office, Moro Rural Fire Protection District, North Sherman County Rural Fire Protection District, South Sherman Fire Protection District, Sherman County Ambulance, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 146 people have died in traffic crashes in Oregon through July 10.

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