District Attorney update on Nov. 16 fatal collision

Jefferson County District Attorney Steve LeRiche provided a statement today regarding the fatal motor vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 26 between Madras and Warm Springs nearly 3 weeks ago, on November 16. A young woman and two teenage siblings from Warm Springs lost their lives as a result of the crash.

The District Attorney’s statement comes in response to correspondence he says his office has received from numerous Warm Springs community members expressing concern about the case and justice being delivered. LeRiche said many of the individuals who contacted his office voiced their feelings about the length of time that has passed since the crash, and lack of legal action.

A preliminary investigation found that a Toyota Tacoma, driven by a 29-year-old Bend woman, was passing several vehicles in the fog when it hit the victims’ car head-on, killing the driver and her 13-year-old nephew, and critically injuring her 14-year-old niece. The young girl passed away from her a few days later.

Oregon State Police is the lead investigative agency, and according to LeRiche, “has served search warrants, collected evidence, will be preparing an accident reconstruction report and there will be a toxicology report.” He says his office has not yet received any reports, but wanted to let the community know that investigations involving fatalities generally take 3-6 months to complete. According to LeRiche, when OSP completes its investigation, the reports will be forwarded to his office, and he stated “we will be evaluating all of the reports as soon as they get here and making legal determinations as appropriate.”