Head on crash on US 97 caused by suspected impaired driver – OSP release – BEND, Ore. – Oregon State troopers from the Bend Area Command recently responded to a head-on crash caused by a suspected impaired driver. This crash, and subsequent DUII arrests, highlight the dangers of impaired driving and the potential for serious injuries and fatalities on Oregon’s highways. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, a two-vehicle crash occurred on US 97 near milepost 129. At approximately 10:30 p.m. an intoxicated driver, driving a Jeep Wrangler, was headed northbound and crossed into oncoming southbound traffic, and struck a Kia Soul head-on. The collision blocked all four lanes of US 97 for 1.5 hours. The driver of the Jeep Wrangler, Tomas Santizo Romairo (39) of Redmond, was arrested for DUII. He sustained minor injuries and was admitted to a local hospital. In addition to DUII, the suspect was arrested for reckless driving and recklessly endangering. The driver of the Kia Soul was transported via ambulance to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. While troopers were investigating 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. 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.
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