Springfield Man Arrested after Drunk-Driving Crash Injures Couple

Date: December 4, 2009
Location: Highway 126W, near Florence, Oregon
Names: Larry Gene Larson, Deborah A. Larson, Anna V. Larson, Richard Alfred Lopez

A Springfield man was held on multiple charges December 4, 2009, following a two-car crash on Highway 126W east of Florence, Oregon, that seriously injured a Florence couple.

According to Salem-News.com, Larry Gene Larson, 63, and his wife, Deborah A. Larson, 63, were injured when their car was struck by a 1994 Ford Explorer driven by Richard Alfred Lopez, 47, of Springfield. The Larsons’ daughter, Anna V. Larson, 21, of Florence, was also in the car, but was not injured.

The crash happened around 2:30 AM. Preliminary investigation by Oregon State Police indicates that Lopez was eastbound on the highway, when his car crossed the center line and struck the car Larson was driving, a 2006 Subaru Forrester.

Suislaw Valley Fire & Rescue extricated the couple from their car. They were transported to Peace Harbor Hospital in Florence with serious injuries. Later, Larry Larson was transferred to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend for additional treatment.

Lopez, who received minor injuries in the crash, was arrested for DUII, reckless driving, two counts of assault in the second degree, and recklessly endangering another person.

Highway 126W was closed about two hours at the crash scene as Oregon State Police investigated, assisted by Oregon Department of Transportation.

We send our thoughts and prayers to the entire Larson family after this unnecessary, pointless accident. We hope that all the prayers going out to them, along with the support of family and community, will help carry them through this difficult time.

We don’t need to remind our readers that driving is a serious responsibility. People who violate the traffic laws, drive while drunk, or operate their vehicles carelessly do not just put themselves at risk, they endanger everyone on the road. That includes bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, highway workers, other drivers, and their own passengers.

In the wake of a tragedy like this, each person must deal with it in whatever way works best for them. We would never try to talk someone into taking legal action. It is an individual decision that can only be made by the family. When a drunk driver causes an injury accident in Oregon, there is a possibility of suing the person or bar that served the alcohol. This must be done correctly, and quickly. There are strict time limits for filing a lawsuit in Oregon, and where alcohol is involved, the limits get even stricter. A Dram Shop Notice must be sent to the server within 180 days of the incident, pursuant to ORS 471.565.

We encourage people to educate themselves on the law of drunk driving in Oregon. But when a drunk driver is involved, the law becomes very tricky, and you should contact an experienced Oregon injury attorney.