Speeding, Not Racing, Led to Fatal Crash

Date: July 19, 2010
Location: Highway 99W, Newberg, Oregon
Names: Nathan Dirk Hext, Casey Niles Binkerd, Ina May Benuche, Ivan Louis Langley, Joshua David Reimer

A tragic crash that killed two teenagers and injured two seniors July 19, 2010, was the result of excessive speed, but not street racing, Newberg-Dundee police told KOINLocal6, putting to rest the rumors that have flown since the accident.

The three-car crash occurred on Highway 99W in Newberg, Oregon, around 2:50 PM. According to the Newberg Graphic, witnesses saw two cars, a Honda and a Dodge, speeding southwest on the highway toward Dundee, when the cars skidded at a railroad crossing and the Dodge may have clipped the Honda. The Honda then spun into an oncoming minivan.

A witness told police it looked like the cars were racing, starting the rumors.

The driver of the Honda, Nathan Dirk Hext, 18, of Newberg, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Also riding in the car was Casey Niles Binkerd, 15, of Dundee. Binkerd was critically injured and airlifted to OHSU in Portland for brain surgery. Despite physicians’ efforts, Binkerd died at the hospital.

The driver of the minivan, Ina May Benuche, 70, and passenger Ivan Louis Langley, 81, both of Amity, were taken by ambulance to Providence Newberg Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Joshua David Reimer, 24, of Newberg, the driver of the Dodge, was stopped by police immediately after the crash and cooperated with investigators. His car was not damaged. Police have determined that Reimer was not involved in causing the crash, and he will not be charged.

Police found that Hext was traveling at excessive speed and lost control on the curve. He over-corrected and crossed the median, striking the oncoming minivan.

On Facebook, a memory page dedicated to Binkerd had over 1,000 members, with a family member posting: “I miss you buddy, you are a great little brother. I know you would hate me crying for you but I can’t help it. I just miss you, but I know I’ll see you again someday on the other side if I make it to where you are :)”

According to an obituary on OregonLive.com, Binkerd was starting his sophomore year at Newberg High School. He loved sports, including swimming and tennis, and was an active member of his church. He was a creative young man who enjoyed making people laugh. He will be missed by family and friends, including his parents, Kerry and Kristin Tokstad Binkerd, a brother, three sisters, and many others. Memorial gifts may be made to the Casey Binkerd Memorial Scholarship Fund at Joyful Servant Lutheran Church.

Hext is remembered as well, with a page on Tributes.com, where a friend posted a note to the family, “Remember the good times.”

We send our sincere condolences to Binkerd’s family, and Hext’s as well. We also send our thoughts to Benuche and Langley, and hope that they are soon on the way to a full recovery, and we are glad that Reimer was not injured.

As Oregon auto accident attorneys, we are relieved that speed racing was not involved in this crash, but it is still too common, and it can be deadly. Edmunds.com notes that no one really knows the full extent of the problem, because it is difficult for accident investigators to distinguish between street racing and reckless driving, but using NHTSA figures, it is possible to estimate that between 1998 and 2001 there were 399 deaths due to street racing.

But even if you’re not racing, speeding by itself is a life-and-death matter. In fact, it could be worse than driving drunk! The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Traffic Crash Summary reports that in 2008 alone, speed-related accidents killed 216 Oregonians. That number far exceeds the amount of drunk-driving fatalities!

Why do people speed? To get somewhere quicker? Shaving a few minutes off your trip is not worth the risk of potentially harming or killing another innocent driver or passenger. For the thrill?

If you’re tempted to get somewhere faster by driving over the speed limit, remember that law enforcement is in full effect, and the Oregon State Police are continually looking for ways to both protect the innocent and punish those who endanger lives. If caught, you could lose your license, receive an expensive ticket or go to jail.

The risk is too great—lives can be lost as well as licenses and the ability to operate your own vehicle. It’s not worth it.

Sometimes, though, you can do all the right things and still find yourself injured in a car crash. Shulman DuBois LLC represents victims with injuries resulting from accidents. Our clients deserve representation with our experience, sensitivity and tenacity. Should an unfortunate episode find you or someone you know in need of representation as a result of an accident related injury, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated by ordering your free copy of 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case. If you still have questions, contact us.