Head-On Car Crash on Highway 97 Kills One, Injures Three

Date: December 30, 2010
Location: Highway 97 North of Bend
Names: Derek Lybbert-Arizmendez, John Siemens, Angelica Mendoza, Javion Pineda

According to an Oregon State Police news release, at about 12:23pm on December 30, 2010 a red 2000 Mercury Cougar driven by Derek Lybbert-Arizmendez, age 19 of Madras was headed south on Highway 97 near milepost 133. The Cougar was driven onto a snow-covered median separating both lanes of the highway and crossed into the oncoming lanes, crashing head-on into a white 1996 GMC Suburban driven by John Siemens, age 53 of Bend.

Lybbert-Arizmendez died at the scene. Siemens sustained minor injuries and was transported to St. Charles Medical Center where he was treated and released. Two passengers in the Cougar were injured in the crash. Angelica Mendoza, age 19, sustained major injuries and Javion Pineda, age 2 months, sustained minor injuries. Both were transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. The occupants of all vehicles involved in this crash were using safety restraints.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Lybbert-Arizmendez, and we hope that all of those injured will recover fully and quickly.

Although the cause of this fatal Oregon car accident is still under investigation, snowy and icy road conditions make for dangerous driving. Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation ask everyone to slow down, increase following distances so you can safely stop, stay alert and drive carefully. Potentially dangerous driving conditions are factoring into more traffic crashes and other roadside emergencies. Be watchful for emergency workers and their vehicles — police car, ambulance, tow vehicle, or public safety vehicle — on the roadside with emergency lights flashing.

Other tips to remember:

  • Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.
  • Stay informed about weather conditions, potential traffic hazards and highway closures.
  • Check road conditions by visiting www.TripCheck.com or calling 5-1-1.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving starting with good tires, a good battery, and a full tank of gas.
  • Carry an emergency kit and chains or traction tires, especially if traveling over mountain passes.
  • Drive according to conditions. If it’s wet, icy, snowy or foggy, slow down and increase your following distance behind other vehicles to at least a four-second distance. Keep in mind that conditions may not be perfect to drive at the posted speed.
  • Be watchful for potential icy conditions during cold weather on bridges, curves and shaded areas.
  • Use headlights even in daylight to help other drivers see you.