BEND, Ore. - (Update: Police ID man's body, seek public tips on whereabouts)
Police on Thursday identified a man whose body was found near the Bend Parkway by authorities investigating a non-injury crash onto the nearby railroad tracks Wednesday evening.
A driver suffering a medical issue crashed onto the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway line around 6:15 p.m., bringing Bend police, fire medics and Oregon State Police to the scene off the northbound side of the parkway, near the Northwest Hawthorne Avenue exit, police Lt. Brian Kindel said.
A car occupied by a woman and two children had left the parkway (Highway 97) and crashed onto the railroad tracks due to the driver’s medical issue, Kindel said.
Kindel told NewsChannel 21 initial indications were that the woman was driving north on the parkway, veered onto the median and then back across the northbound lanes, leaving the road and hitting the railroad tracks, where it came to a stop.
No injuries were reported, but BNSF traffic was briefly halted as crews responded to inspect the rail line, while parkway traffic northbound was restricted to one lane for a time.
While investigating the crash, authorities found a body about 50 yards south of the crash scene, in a shallow depression about four to five feet deep, between the parkway and railroad tracks, and thus not visible from the road, Kindel said. Investigating officers determined the crash and discovered body were unrelated.
The man was identified as Robert Michael McKinney. Lt. Clint Burleigh said family members were notified, but Kinney did not have a permanent address in Bend.
“At this time, McKinney’s death does not appear to be of a criminal nature, and police believe there is no risk to the public related to the death,” Burleigh said in an updated news release.
As the investigation continues, police are seeking information on McKinney’s whereabouts since Dec. 9. Anyone who had been in contact with McKinney or has information that could assist was asked to contact Bend Police Officer Eric Russell at 541-693-6911.
Online court records show McKinney was arrested and booked into the Crook County Jail on Nov. 11 on charges of third-degree theft, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and second-degree criminal trespass.
McKinney, who listed a home address in Joplin, Missouri, was conditionally released from jail later that day, pending a Dec. 6 court appearance. Among the conditions were that he not leave the state without court permission "except for residence, work or school."
The district attorney's initial court filing on Dec. 4 listed only the first two charges (Class A and C misdemeanors) and alleged that on Nov. 11, McKinney entered a vehicle and stole the keys.
The records show McKinney failed to show up for the Dec. 6 court appearance and on Dec. 15, Judge Daniel Ahern signed an arrest warrant for his failure to appear in court, another Class A misdemeanor.