Trucks, Car Collide, Killing One

Date: March 26, 2010
Location: Highway 58 near Dexter, Oregon
Names: Jose Merced Andrade, Ricardo Miramontes, Sergio Fuentes, Stacey Colorado

A three-vehicle crash on Highway 58 near Dexter, Oregon, involving two commercial trucks and a passenger car, killed one person and injured two others on March 26, 2010. Excessive speed may have been a factor, according to an Oregon State Police press release.

The fatal Dexter crash happened around 5 PM, near milepost 14, when a westbound truck and semi-trailer was trying to execute a curve and the driver lost control. The truck swerved across the highway and started to roll, and the trailer slammed into a railroad trestle. The trailer split open, then both the truck and trailer crashed into an eastbound commercial truck. An eastbound car behind the second truck tried to pull off the road, but crashed into the wreckage.

One of the men in the truck, Jose Merced Andrade, 48, of Southgate, California, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other occupant, Ricardo Miramontes, 47, of San Diego, California, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and was transported by Life Flight to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. Miramontes claims he was in the sleeper berth, and Andrade was the driver.

The eastbound truck’s driver, Sergio Fuentes, 57, of California, suffered a minor injury. The driver of the passenger car, Stacey Colorado, 41, of Oakridge, Oregon, was not hurt in the crash.

OSP troopers are continuing to investigate, but said the crash may have resulted from excessive speed.

We send our wishes to Andrade’s family, and we also send thoughts to Miramontes and Fuentes. We hope they will get some answers about this tragic Oregon accident.

The Oregon Department of Transportation Safety reports that in 2008 alone, speed-related accidents killed 216 Oregonians. That number far exceeds the number of drunk driving fatalities. But, as always, 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 for driving under the influence and causing an injury accident, you could lose your license, receive an expensive ticket, or go to jail.

Wrongful death claims are allowed by law. ORS 30.010-30.100. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is tricky. It is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .” In other words, it’s not three years from the date of death; it’s three years from the date of the original injury that ultimately caused the death. If a person goes into a coma from a car crash, and dies eight months later, the case will have to be brought within three years from the date of the car crash, not from the date of the death.

If a city, state, county, or other public body is being sued, a Tort Claim Notice must be received by the entity being sued within 180 days of the injury.

Compensation available includes charges for medical expenses; memorial and burial services; compensation for the person’s pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income from the time of the injury through the time of death; financial losses to the person’s family or other heirs; compensation for the loss of companionship and services to the person’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents; and punitive damages may sometimes be available as well.