Second fatality within one week occurs on Highway 35

News staff writer

Hood River County emergency responders were called Jan. 5 to the scene of the second fatal traffic accident within a one week.

The third death from a crash on slick roadways has led Hood River Sheriff Joe Wampler to issue a safety alert.

"Motorists need to slow down and take extra precautions when traveling near the Gorge during the winter season," said Wampler. "Drivers shouldn't get overconfident and should always plan ahead by carrying traction devices that not only will prevent damage to their vehicle but quite possibly save a life."

According to Oregon State Police reports, the female passenger of a Toyota Tercel was killed about 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 after the vehicle slid broadside into a southbound Ford pickup near milepost 64 on Highway 35.

Yvette Barhishindi Mubalama, 28, of Portland was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the Toyota, Luvumbu Ndongala Hassan, 33, of Portland was Lifeflighted to Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment of head injuries.

The operator of the Ford pickup, Darryl Brian Barton, 31, of Hood River, and his three passengers were uninjured from the impact.

The crash is being investigated by the OSP office in The Dalles and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor. The accident reportedly occurred when Hassan lost control of his vehicle while negotiating a curve on pavement that was wet with patches of slush.

On New Year's Eve, an icy roadway led to two deaths along Interstate 84 near Cascade Locks. After helping the victim in a roll-over accident shortly before 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, Kevin R. Fitzsimmons, 28, of Kent. Wash., was struck and killed by another vehicle which slid off the freeway. The man he had been helping, Hector Manuel Virgen Orozco, 32, of Hood River, was also killed by the same truck after emerging unscathed from his earlier wreck.

Wampler said many times the pavement over the majority of the highway will be dry but, if the temperature is colder, moisture trapped between concrete slabs near an overpass or bridge can freeze up and become very slippery. He said motorists approaching those areas should proceed with extra caution.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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