Cornelius driver says he couldnt avoid May 18 accident on Highway 219

A Portland woman was struck and killed by a minivan while apparently hitchhiking in the dark and wearing black clothing on Highway 219 just after midnight May 18.

Melissa Bernard, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene. She was hit by a 2004 Kia Sedona driven by Owen Moyco, 42, from Cornelius. He remained at the scene, cooperated with investigators, and was not charged with any crimes.

According to Washington County Sheriff's Office officials, at 12:10 a.m. on May 18, deputies were called to Highway 219 south of Southwest Burkhalter Road concerning a person who was reportedly walking in the road hitchhiking in the rural community of Farmington.

As the deputies were traveling to the area, another person called seven minutes later and said he had hit a person with his vehicle in the same location. When the deputies arrived, they found Bernard had apparently been walking north in the middle of the northbound lane when she was struck by a Moyco's northbound vehicle.

Moyco said he was driving about 55 mph when he saw Ms. Bernard in front of him at the last second. Moyco told deputies he tried to swerve around her, but there was a vehicle driving toward him in the opposite direction and he was unable to avoid hitting her.

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