Bend driver, 16, charged in Hwy. 20W rollover crash

Deputies: Driver distracted; car flipped several times; passenger thrown

BEND, Ore. - A distracted teen driver with a suspended license swerved to avoid a crash on Highway 20 west of Bend Monday night, causing the car to spin 180 degrees and roll several times, throwing a passenger to the ground, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

Despite the violent nature of the crash -- and both 16-year-old girls not wearing seat belts -- they were taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries, said sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Dizney.

The driver, a Bend resident, was arrested by citation on third-degree assault (injuries to passenger) and reckless driving charges, and released to her mother, Dizney said.

The teen, whose name was not released, also was cited for driving with a suspended license, Dizney said, adding that the investigation is continuing.

Deputies were dispatched around 8:30 the reported single-vehicle crash on Highway 20W near Tweed Road, Dizney said.

An initial investigation found the teens were heading east in a black Chevy Malibu in the four-lane passing zone, passing other cars.

As the passing lane came to an end, the driver "became distracted" in the car, "causing her to brake heavily to avoid rear-ending another vehicle as traffic became congested as the passing lane ended," Dizney wrote in a news release.

The teen swerved to the right to avoid a crash and the car left the road, spun about 180 degrees and rolled several times, coming to rest right side up, the sergeant said.

An initial investigation estimated speeds at the time of the crash at 60 to 65 mph. Dizney said.

"Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this crash, but distracted driving is," the sergeant added.

The eastbound slow lane of travel was closed for emergency vehicles. The sheriff's office was assisted by Oregon State Police, Black Butte Ranch Police and the Bend Fire Department.

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