Bend man injured, cited in Hwy. 97 U-turn crash

Other driver also hospitalized; hwy. shut 2 hours

BEND, Ore. - A 21-year-old Bend man was seriously injured early Wednesday morning and later cited on drugged and reckless driving charges after he tried to make a U-turn on Highway 97 north of Bend and his car was hit by another, also sending the other driver to the hospital, Oregon State Police said.

Around 6:15 a.m., a 1999 Toyota Camry driven by Mathew D. Morkert of Bend had pulled to the right southbound shoulder of the highway near milepost 129, then tried a U-turn, troopers said.

As Morkert's car crossed the southbound lanes, the driver of a southbound 1991 Chevy Cavalier in the left ("fast") lane, Kyle T. Staton, 22, of Prineville, braked hard and tried steering left to avoid the collision, OSP said. His car struck Morkert's on the driver's side, they said, and both cars came to rest on the highway.

Morkert – who was not wearing a seat belt – was thrown to the passenger side of the car on impact, troopers said. He was cut out of the wreckage by fire personnel and taken by ambulance to St. Charles-Bend, where he was listed in serious condition Wednesday evening.

Staton also was taken to the Bend hospital, where he was in fair condition late Wednesday. Troopers said his seat belt use was pending confirmation.

OSP troopers cited Morkert for driving under the influence of intoxicants (drugs), reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person. He also was driving with a suspended license, troopers said, adding that more charges may be filed.

The crash and investigation closed the highway's northbound lanes for about two hours, with traffic rerouted into the southbound lanes, according to troopers.

OSP troopers from the Bend Area Command office and the Madras work site responded to the scene for the investigation. Trooper Jason Hansen is the lead investigator.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Bend and Redmond fire departments and ODOT.

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