Highway 395 Hit and Run Crash Causes Death, Injuries

Date: December 21, 2010
Location: Umatilla, OR
Names: Moises Arroyo Hernandez, Luis Lopez Morales, Nolberto Gonzalez Bernal, Lidia Tejeda, Jose Tejeda, Alejandra Tejeda, Nayeh Tejeda

According to an Oregon State Police (OSP) press release, OSP troopers with the help of local law enforcement agencies arrested the suspected driver who fled the scene of a fatal two vehicle crash that took place on December 19 on Highway 395 north of Hermiston.

On the evening of December 20, 2010, OSP, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Police and Fire Department responded to an Umatilla-area residence after receiving a tip that the driver who fled the accident scene was hiding out there. Luis Lopez Morales, age 25 with no known permanent address, was arrested without incident.

Before the arrest, OSP Sergeant Sterling Hall reported that on December 19 at approximately 10:43pm a 1993 Chevrolet Blazer with three occupants was heading north on Highway 395 about 1 ½ miles south of Highway 730 at a high rate of speed. The Chevrolet Blazer’s driver, later identified as Lopez Morales, lost control and crossed over into the southbound lanes colliding head-on with a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe with four occupants.

Lopez Morales and an injured passenger left the scene before emergency responders arrived and found an unidentified adult male passenger deceased outside the Blazer. This person was later identified as Moises Arroyo Hernandez, age 33 of Umatilla. The injured passenger who had fled the scene with Morales was later identified as Nolberto Gonzalez Bernal, and he was found at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston with non-life threatening injuries. Lopez Morales had received minor injuries but was not hospitalized.

The four occupants in the Chevrolet Tahoe, two adults and two children, were injured and transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center. They were identified as driver Lidia Tejeda, age 39, and passengers Jose Tejeda, age 41, Alejandra Tejeda, age 13, and Nayeh Tejeda, age 3. The 13-year-old passenger had serious injuries and the others received minor injuries.

Lopez Morales was taken to the Umatilla County Jail and booked for Felony Hit & Run-Injury Crash, Assault in the Second Degree, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. Additional charges are pending following further investigation in conjunction with the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office. The Umatilla County Jail website indicates that there is also an ICE hold on Lopez Morales.

We certainly regret the pain and suffering by many people in this crash, and wish them all healing and a full recovery. We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Moises Arroyo Hernandez, who have suffered the greatest of all losses.

A hit-and-run is a serious crime, and conviction will result in your driving privileges being suspended or revoked. In any accident, you have the following obligations:

  • Stop at once. If anyone is killed or unconscious, you must stay at the scene until a police officer arrives.
  • Render aid. Do not move an injured person carelessly, but give reasonable aid.
  • Exchange information with the other driver. Give them your name, address, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. DMV offers a printable checklist you can download and keep in your car.
  • Report the accident to DMV.

Hit-and-run is a serious violation of Oregon Vehicle Code 811.705. The hit-and-run driver must be held civilly and criminally responsible for his actions. In a case like this, the Hernandez family may be well advised to contact a reputed Oregon personal injury attorney with experience in hit-and-run crashes who will fight for the justice and compensation that they deserve. At Shulman DuBois, we believe that what happened to Hernandez is simply unacceptable; we are committed to making sure that hit-and-run drivers are held accountable for their actions and that both victims and families receive the compensation they deserve.