Oregon Christmas Holiday Car Accident Statistics Released

Date: December 27, 2010
Location: State of Oregon Statistics
Names: Alexey Tipikin, Chun Cha Shim, Ashley Dettra, Andres Guillermo Escobedo, Vennita Taylor

This year’s Christmas Holiday reporting period began at 6:00pm December 23 and ended at 11:59pm December 26. Preliminary information indicates that three people lost their lives in 3 separate fatal traffic crashes on Oregon roads during the 78-hour Christmas Holiday period. This was a 50% decrease compared to 2009’s 102-hour Christmas Holiday period when six people died in 6 separate fatal traffic crashes.

Following is a brief review of Oregon’s confirmed fatal traffic crashes during the holiday period:

  • The Woodburn Independent reported that during evening rush hour on December 23 Alexey Tipikin, age 84 of Woodburn, was driving his vehicle north on Highway 99E and entered the intersection at Hardcastle Avenue on a red light. Vennita Taylor, also of Woodburn, was driving west on a green light and collided with Tipikin’s Nissan Stanza. Tipikin was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • On December 24 at 5:40pm Chun Cha Shim, age 61 of Gresham, died after being struck by a vehicle while she was walking in the dark on Highway 224. She reportedly was talking on her cell phone at the time with someone who was giving her directions to where she was going to visit. Shim was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • On December 26 at around 5:30am Ashley Dettra, age 20 of Hillsboro, was ejected from the SUV being driven by her fiancé and died at the scene. According to updated reports by The Oregonian and court documents, Andres Guillermo Escobedo, age 20 of Hillsboro, was the vehicle’s driver and had a blood alcohol level of .18 percent, more than double the legal limit, at the time of the accident. He was later arraigned on charges of first-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

In addition to these fatal crashes, Oregon State Police troopers responded to injury and non-injury accidents that caused traffic congestion and delays. Oregon State Police are warning drivers to slow down and be prepared for cold weather driving conditions during winter months.

A brief review of a few of these accidents taking place on December 26:

  • OregonLive.com reported on a 12-vehicle minor injury crash at 2:00 p.m. in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 at milepost 242 about eight miles north of Albany. Drivers following too closely during heavy rain conditions were factors in this crash. Three people were transported for treatment of minor injuries.
  • An 8-vehicle minor injury traffic crash occurred at 3:43 p.m. on Highway 35 southbound near milepost 62. Icy roads and drivers not complying with chain up restrictions during heavy snow and wind were factors as vehicles were losing traction. Two people outside their vehicles putting on chains were struck by another vehicle. Highway 35 was closed about 3 hours due to this crash.
  • Multiple crashes during the afternoon on Highway 97 between Bend and Gilchrist were the result of drivers not slowing down or not having their vehicles prepared to drive in winter conditions.

Oregon State Police Bend Sergeant Eric Brown urged drivers to be ready for winter driving conditions. “Drivers going too fast, being ill prepared and having a false sense of security because of the type of vehicle one drives won’t get you to your destination safely. Whether it is snow, ice or rain, drive alert and defensively, and know before you go what the conditions are so you can make sure you and your vehicle are ready for what you may be facing,” said Brown.

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers reported 36 DUII arrests during this holiday period as part of the nationwide crackdown on impaired driving: “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” The special enforcement effort involving OSP, County Sheriff’s agencies and local police departments continued through the New Year’s weekend. The 36 reported DUII arrests by OSP troopers were nearly half of last year’s 60 DUII arrests during a 102-hour period. OSP offices reporting 3 or more DUII arrests were:

  • Central Point Area Command (including Grants Pass worksite) – 6 DUII arrests
  • Springfield Area Command (including Oakridge worksite) – 6 DUII arrests
  • Portland Area Command (including Tualatin and Government Camp) – 5 DUII arrests
  • Salem Area Command – 3 DUII arrests
  • Pendleton Area Command (including Umatilla worksite) – 3 DUII arrests