Woman killed in Sunday I-84 crash

March 30, 2011

A Happy Valley-area woman was killed Sunday and three other people injured in a crash on Interstate 84 just west of Cascade Locks.

Oregon State Police troopers are continuing the investigation into the 5:37 p.m. wreck near milepost 42.

Cascade Locks firefighters passed the scene about a minute after the crash, while heading home, eastbound, from an earlier non-injury crash on I-84.

"We had to go to the next exit and double back. We were fighting traffic, which had literally stopped," said Fire Chief Jeff Pricher. "One of the cars looked like it was cut in half."

According to Trooper Jason Calloway, preliminary investigation indicates a 1992 Acura Vigor four-door driven by Marc Edward Taylor, 20, from Edmonds, Wash., was westbound in the right lane at freeway speeds.

Taylor reportedly didn't see traffic ahead was stopped and crashed into the back of a 1992 Geo Metro two-door. The impact pushed the Geo Metro forward into the back of a 1990 Ford Econoline van, leading to a chain-reaction crash involving four other vehicles that were stopped in both westbound lanes.

The Geo Metro's driver, Vicky Ann Bankhardt, 33, from Happy Valley, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The freeway surface was wet and it was raining at the time of the accident.

Pricher said the firefighters were traveling in a fire engine, and notified the Cascade Locks ambulance to go to the scene.

"When we showed up we went to the (Geo Metro) and unfortunately the occupant was deceased. There was nothing we could do," Pricher said.

Taylor and his two passengers received minor injuries. They were transported by ground ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland for treatment. The two passengers are identified as Alison M. Maclean, 20, from Nampa, Idaho, and Dejon D. Bowman, 20, from Tumwater, Wash. Neither passenger wore safety restraints, according to OSP.

The Ford Econoline van's driver, William R. Closner, 75, from Stevenson, and the other four drivers were not injured. These vehicles were later driven from the scene.

OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation with the assistance of the Hood River County District Attorney's Office. No enforcement decision has been made pending the completion of the investigation.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Hood River County Sheriff's Office, Cascade Locks Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

One lane was closed three hours during the investigation.

Pricher said his department worked with ODOT to get one lane open within about 40 minutes after the accident. He said about two hours later OSP closed it again to do accident reconstruction as part of the investigation.

Pricher said I-84 was "ridiculously busy" as the earlier non-injury accident that caused the backup.

"Drivers are not smart," he said. "They don't pay attention, or they wait until the last minute to slow down or change lanes.

"That's why the fire department guys have to do what we do sometimes in terms of traffic control and taking precautions," he said.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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