News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Area accidents result in multiple fatalities

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

A head-on collision near Lyons left two people with serious injuries and one person dead at the scene.

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan reported at 3:10 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a caller who reported hearing what sounded like a loud crash. Minutes after the call, deputies arrived at the scene to find two vehicles involved in an accident near the intersection of Lyons-Mill City Drive and Mowitch Street, just outside of Lyons.

Jesse Guzman, 23, of Stayton was found unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at the accident site. He was a journeyman carpenter at Blazer Industries, Inc., working on roofing and framing. Previously, he worked as a carpenter/painter at Inspiration Painting, LLC, helping to remodel houses, and as a grader at Freres Lumber. Guzman attended Santiam Junior/Senior High School in Mill City.

According to LCSO, Guzman was traveling east on Lyons-Mill City Drive in his 1995 Dodge Intrepid when he crossed into the opposite lane of travel and hit an oncoming 2013 Honda Civic. Both occupants of the Honda were transported to Salem Hospital with serious injuries. What caused Guzman to leave his lane of travel remains unknown. 

Pam Varay lives and drives daily on the road where the accident occurred. She posted on the LCSO Facebook page that the crash was the second accident she had heard about in the same area in a 24-hour period. 

“The majority of the people I see driving this road treat it like it’s a race track and go way over the posted speed limit,” she said, adding drivers often “pass in no passing zones or on curves.”

Varay posted, “RIP Jesse. You’ll be missed.” To his family, she added, “My condolences.”

“So sad, Jesse was too young,” said Stephanie Gouveia in the online thread. “He had such a good soul!”

The Lyons Fire Department and the Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office assisted LCSO at the scene of the accident. LCSO had not released the names of the passengers in the Honda as of Wednesday evening.

“We do not have the reports completed,” Duncan said. “There are too many names in the call itself to know who was a passenger vs. otherwise involved such as witness, family member, etc.”

Law Enforcement agencies throughout Linn County responded to multiple fatal crashes on Monday, Jan. 30, impacting a significant amount of family, friends and community members, Duncan reported. 

“I know of at least four separate crashes,” Duncan said Wednesday morning. “LCSO had two and Oregon State Police had two. I believe Albany Police Department had one serious accident, but I do not know if that person made it or not.”

Also, at about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle, head-on collision on Highway 226 near Fish Hatchery Drive in Linn County. Excessive speed, observed just prior to the collision to be upward of 100 miles per hour, is considered to be the greatest contributing factor to the crash that took four lives, according to a press release issue Wednesday by OSP. 

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of a silver Hyundai Elantra, Travis O. Longo, 20, of Albany, failed to negotiate a curve and crossed into the opposite lane of travel, colliding with a white Kia Sorrento, driven by Jessica M. Petrime, 29, of Scio. The collision caused the Elantra to roll and come to a rest on its roof.

Longo was pronounced dead at the scene, as well as both of his passengers, Chloe L. Richmond, 18, of Lebanon and Skye R. Huskey, 18, of Lebanon. 

Petrime was also pronounced deceased at the scene. Her 8-month-old female passenger was transported to Lebanon Community Hospital with reportedly non-life-threatening injuries. The highway was closed for approximately six hours while an on-scene investigation was conducted. OSP was assisted by the Scio Fire Department, ODOT and LCSO. 

A single-car accident just outside of Albany at 9:22 a.m. on that same day took the life of Bradley Freeman, 34, from Lebanon. 

The investigation revealed Freeman was traveling north on Scravel Hill Road near the intersection of Grenz Lane, outside of Albany, when he crossed the oncoming lane into a ditch and impacted a driveway entrance. His vehicle continued a short distance and struck a nearby power pole, shearing it off at the base and causing downed power lines in the area.

Freeman was traveling to work in a 2019 Ford pickup. At this time, it is unknown what caused Freeman to leave the roadway. 

LCSO was assisted by Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson Fire Department, Linn County Medical Examiner and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

All three accidents are under ongoing investigations. 

“Our thoughts are with all those who suffer in the loss of those close to them,” said Duncan when reaching out to media initially. 

“The Linn County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone to drive with care,” she added. “Any reckless behavior will be investigated fully, and those committing criminal acts will be held accountable.”

Anyone with information on any incident can call the Linn County Sheriff’s Office at 541-967-3950.

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