California woman killed in Hwy. 97 crash near Sunriver

Troopers: Was riding with speeding, passing driver

SUNRIVER, Ore. - (Update: Driver improves to fair condition, more OSP info)

A Bakersfield, California woman was killed and a Klamath Falls woman seriously injured Friday afternoon when the driver of a speeding, passing car lost control and collided with an oncoming ODOT emergency response pickup on Highway 97 near Sunriver, Oregon State Police said Saturday.

A preliminary investigation determined that Pamela Vanworth, 58, of Klamath Falls, was driving a 2004 Scion BX “at a very high rate of speed,” heading south on Highway 97 near milepost 158 when the crash occurred around 3:30 p.m., troopers said.

They said Vanworth was passing numerous vehicles when she lost control of her car, driving into the northbound lane and crashing into a Ford F-350 pickup, an ODOT incident response truck driven by John Benson, 36, of Redmond.

Vanworth’s passenger, Lisa Ann Garcia-Ramirez, 45, of Bakersfield, was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel, troopers said.

Vanworth and Benson were taken by ambulance to St. Charles Bend. Troopers said Vanworth was in the hospital's intensive-care unit on Saturday, but a house supervisor said she was in fair condition by late Saturday afternoon. Benson was treated for minor injuries and released.

OSP Sgt. Jeff Proulx confirmed that seat belts were used by those in the crash. He said speed was the only factor being reported at this time as the investigation continues, noting that charges are possible later, depending on the results of that investigation.

OSP was assisted at the scene by ODOT and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies.

The crash occurred south of Vandevert and Sugar Pine Butte roads, about 10 miles north of La Pine, Deschutes County 911 dispatchers and ODOT officials said.

The crash blocked the highway for a time, and after that limited traffic to one lane, controlled by a flagger in alternate directions.

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