Oregon State Police are citing a head-on collision that happened between Bend and Redmond two weeks ago as an example about the dangers of impaired driving on state highways.
OSP said the Oct. 14 crash on U.S. 97 happened around 10:30 p.m. They said an intoxicated driver in a northbound Jeep Wrangler crossed into oncoming southbound traffic and struck a Kia Soul head-on. The collision blocked all four lanes for 1 1/2 hours.
The Jeep driver, identified by OSP as Tomas Santizo Romairo of Redmond, 39, was arrested for DUII. He was also suspected of reckless driving and recklessly endangering, OSP said. He sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital.
The Kia driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
OSP said as they investigated the crash, a second impaired driver was discovered in the line of traffic. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office arrested the suspect for DUII and an outstanding warrant.
Here is more from OSP:
OSP’s Bend Area Command has investigated numerous serious injury and fatal DUII-related crashes in the last year. As part of the agency’s commitment to reduce fatal traffic crashes, troopers across the state focus on the Fatal-5 driving behaviors that contribute to the majority of all motor vehicle crashes. In addition to impaired driving, other Fatal-5 behaviors include speed, occupant safety, lane safety, and distracted driving.
In Sept. 2023, Bend area troopers had 664 traffic contacts for Fatal-5 violations. Statewide, troopers arrested 265 suspected impaired drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approximately 37 people per day die in drunk driving crashes – that’s one person every 39 minutes. They report that about 31 percent of traffic fatalities in the U.S. involve impaired drivers.
Impaired driving crashes are preventable. Drivers are urged to plan ahead and never drive impaired with any substance. To make it home safely designate a sober driver, use public transportation, call a sober friend or family member, or use a ride-share service or taxi. If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911.