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Holiday weekend deadliest in years.

Byline: The Register-Guard

The recent Memorial Day weekend was the deadliest on the state's roads since 1987.

Four crashes killed eight people between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Monday, according to the Oregon State Police.

Four of those deaths resulted from a head-on collision in Springfield on Friday evening on Highway 126.

In that incident, an eastbound car crossed the median and struck two cars. Tamera Marie LeWallen, 26, her 4-year-old daughter, Jillian Cummings, and Jillian's father, Shawn Lee Cummings, 26, died from their injuries after being rushed to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene. Jillian was flown from there to a Portland hospital, where she died.

Kevin Vincent Kelley, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was driving a black 1998 Chrysler Concorde east on Highway 126 and, according to witnesses, was speeding when he lost control of the car and crossed the grassy median just west of the 42nd Street exit. Police said Kelley had been drinking before the crash.

The most killed on a Memorial Day weekend came in 1987, when nine people died. Seven were killed during last year's three-day holiday weekend.

The other fatalities came Saturday night, when a motorcyclist crashed near Bend; on Monday morning, after a woman was ejected from a vehicle in Tigard; and Monday afternoon when a vehicle hit two bicyclists in Washington County.

"The three main safety factors - speed, impaired driving, and proper use of safety restraints - we talked about before the holiday weekend were once again major factors in several injury and fatal crashes this holiday weekend," state police Capt. Gerry Gregg said.

State police arrested 81 individuals for driving under the influence of intoxicants, matching last year's total, and issued more than 1,650 speed-related citations, up about 20 percent from last year.

Troopers also helped nearly 450 disabled motorists and responded to 187 traffic crashes.

Coos Bay troopers focused on two problem roads: Highways 38 and 42. Troopers arrested five DUII drivers, and issued 190 citations, mainly for speed, unlawful passing and other hazardous violations. The highest speed troopers recorded was 97 mph.

Troopers also stopped a female driver and cited her for driving at 79 mph. Less than three hours later she was stopped and cited again at 74 mph.

According to the police, she was so upset at being stopped and cited a second time that upon leaving she spun gravel over the citing trooper and almost struck another vehicle while entering the highway. She was stopped a third time and cited for careless driving.
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Title Annotation:Accidents
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 31, 2006
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