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Former Tualatin resident sole fatality in Thursdays pileup

Father of three pronounced dead at scene


Former Tualatin resident Matthew Scott, 39, was killed in a massive collision near Battle Creek, Wash., on Thursday.  Though Winter Storm Orion caused minimal damage in the region Thursday, it claimed the life of a former Tualatin resident traveling through Battle Creek, Wash.

Washington State trooper William Finn confirmed Matthew Scott, 39, was the sole fatality in a 25-vehicle collision that occurred on Interstate 5 in Clark County. Scott was driving a 1994 black Ford Explorer at the time of the incident, which occurred at around 10 a.m.

Amy Hasson, the fiance of Scott’s brother, Justin Scott, said Scott had recently started working as a private investigator. At the time of the collision, he was en route to check a post office box he kept in Clark County for business.

“It was a new business that he just started. (Scott and wife Stacie) were just trying to make it,” Hasson said. “The sad thing is, he didn’t have any life insurance, savings — they put everything they had into this brand new business.”

According to Hasson, Scott spoke with Stacie 10 minutes before the accident, then got off the phone to focus on worsening road conditions. Stacie did not find out about his death until 5 p.m. Thursday.

“She called the State Patrol,” Hasson said. “They had stated that (they had) his license plates, his car was in an accident, they told her to call all the hospitals. So she called all the hospitals. He wasn’t there. She just couldn’t find him.”

Without Stacie’s contact info, law enforcement instead contacted Scott’s father, Sheldon Scott, in Idaho. They asked that he not call Stacie, and instead coordinated police officers and a chaplain to visit Scott’s home in Sandy and tell his family in person.

It fell to Justin to contact his mother and deliver the news, Hasson said.

“To hear her screaming on the phone, it’s absolutely devastating,” she said.

Hasson explained Scott’s death has placed inordinate hardship on his family. He leaves behind three teenage children from a previous marriage, Thomas and twins Abigail and Kaylee. Hasson confirmed that two of Scott’s children have special needs.

Although Stacie has been actively involved in raising the children as her own, Hasson said she feared the new widow would have a custody battle ahead of her — in addition to immediate financial concerns.

“They don’t even know how they’re going to pay next month’s rent,” Hasson said of the family. “The kids are left with nothing.”

A memorial fund has been established at US Bank in Scott’s name, and an account to benefit his family has been set up at crowdsourcing website FundRazr.com. For more information, visit our website, TualatinTimes.com.

Funeral services will be held today (Thursday) in Tualatin.

Scott was accompanied in the car by his dog, Daisy, a female Yorkshire terrier, who remains missing.

“We don’t have the animal, we didn’t see the animal at the scene,” Finn said. “Sometimes at collisions when chaos happens, animals will bolt or be thrown from the vehicle because they’re scared.”

Hasson’s cousin, Tracy Thompson, is a veterinarian at the East Padden Animal Hospital in Vancouver and worked with Hasson to coordinate a wider search for the dog. On Saturday, the organization posted two photos of Daisy and an appeal for members of the public to be on the lookout for the 2-year-old pet, who was last seen by milepost 13 near the Gee Creek rest area.

“(Thompson)’s been forwarding me all the emails,” Hasson said. “So many people want to help.”

After Thursday’s collision, multiple motorists and passengers were transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for treatment, although an exact number was unavailable, Finn said. He described the scene after the collision as one of controlled chaos, although the northbound side of the freeway and one southbound lane were reopened within four hours of the crash.

Not long after emergency responders managed to clear the roadway, another semi trailer “jackknifed” across Interstate 5 and blocked three lanes, Finn said.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt there,” he said.

At least two semi trailers were involved in the larger collision, and Finn said investigators are still scrambling to map out Thursday morning’s chain of events and contact the motorists involved, many of whom live in the Seattle area. The sheer number of vehicles in the collision complicates the forensic evidence, Finn said, as did factors like the snow.

“Because it was such a massive collision there, detectives are looking into eliminating some of the vehicles that were involved, and placing them into their own collision,” he said.

For instance, detectives have classified three vehicles as having accidents separate from the pileup.

Pending the outcome of the investigation, the cause of the collision is being considered weather-related.

The general consensus within Finn’s department, seconded by a seasoned lieutenant, is that Thursday’s collision was the worst crash any officer had seen in Clark County, Finn said.

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