Oregon Attorney Killed in Head-On Crash

Date: September 30, 2009
Location: U.S. Highway 20 near Buchanan, Oregon
Names: Charles Simmons, Sterling Wilson, Pamela Wilson

Charles Simmons, 32, an attorney from Nyssa, Oregon, was killed around 7:20 AM, September 30, 2009, in a head-on collision while on his way to Harney County Circuit Court in Burns for a hearing.

The Argus Observer reports that Simmons was westbound on U.S. Highway 20 near Buchanan, east of Burns, when his car crossed the center line and hit a truck going in the opposite direction. The driver of the truck, Sterling Wilson, 51, and his wife, Pamela Wilson, 51, both of Burns, received minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to Harney District Hospital.

The wreckage caused traffic in both directions to grind to a halt, as Simmons’s car came to rest on the westbound shoulder, while the pickup, along with the livestock trailer it was pulling, blocked both lanes of the highway.

Simmons, who was an attorney with the Ontario, Oregon, law firm of Stunz, Fonda, Kiyuna & Horton LLP, was pronounced dead at the scene. All three people involved were wearing seat belts, and the airbags deployed in both the truck and Simmons’s car.

The highway remained closed for about two hours as Oregon State Police troopers investigated, with assistance from the Harney County Sheriff’s Office. Also responding to the crash were the Burns Fire Department, the Hines Fire Department, Harney EMS, and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

According to Martindale.com, Stunz, Fonda, Kiyuna & Horton LLP handles cases in a wide variety of areas, including estate planning, probate, litigation, agriculture, labor relations, bankruptcy, criminal, personal injury, and workers’ compensation law. The Oregon State Bar lists Simmons as an active member who was admitted in 2002.

As personal injury attorneys – and especially as fellow lawyers – we are sad to hear about the loss of Simmons. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues at Stunz et al. This is exactly the kind of accident we hate to see and are working to prevent. We also would like to wish the Wilsons a very speedy recovery, both physically and emotionally. A car accident is always a difficult thing to go through, and one that involves a death can be even worse. We give our sympathies to everyone involved.