Deceased's family raising money for vet bills

The last missing occupant and sole survivor of a deadly crash that happened in August on Lusted Road outside of Sandy has been located: a dachshund mix named Sammy.

In the early morning on Monday, Aug. 11, a vehicle crashed into a tree on Lusted Road. Three occupants were pronounced dead at the scene when Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies responded. A fourth occupant was taken to a Portland hospital and later died of his injuries.

The driver was identified of Brandon Lee Mayo, 31, of Portland, and the three passengers were Shalene Rene Newland, 20, Jesse Jasso-Varsamas, 20, and Suzanne Marie Varsamas, 39, all also of Portland.

The tree the vehicle crashed into was on Priscilla Jester’s property. Jester said she woke up to the noise from her neighbor yelling into his phone calling 9-1-1.

Along with the four people in the car, there also were three dogs. One died in the crash, but the other two escaped when the door was opened.

Jester said she located one of the dogs the first day. It was transported to a veterinary clinic and its identification chip was used to help identify those who died in the wreckage. The dog also later died of its injuries at the clinic.

However, after everything calmed down, the third dog was still missing. Sammy, a Chihuahua-dachshund mix, was seen wandering near Jester’s property.

Jester said she saw him the next day in her backyard.

Jester said Newland's sister came to help, hoping her voice would calm him enough to respond. “She said, ‘There was only five people he knew, and I’m the only one left,’” Jester said.

The search was unsuccessful, but Jester was unwilling to give up. She continued to leave food out for him over the next 10 days. “If it was my dog, I would be out here — living here,” she said.

She spotted him a few more times, when finally, she noticed him wandering through her front yard. He was noticeably malnourished and limping.

The owner of two border collies, Jester has a dog run in her yard, equipped with a covered area, dog houses and dog beds, where she puts her dogs out in the morning to watch wildlife.

Curious to see if he’d made a haven in the familiar enclosure, Jester went out to the dog run, where she found a bloodied Sammy, curled up asleep. Jester quietly shut the gate and called the Clackmas County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy who was at the nearby Dodge Park responded to the scene, where he scooped up Sammy in a blanket and transported him to the clinic.

Jester said Sammy has already undergone surgery and is scheduled for at least one more.

Newland’s family has set up a fundraising site on hoping to help cover some of the veterinary bills and make sure that Sammy is able to return home.

The cause of Aug. 11 crash is still under investigation.

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