SUNRIVER, Ore. - (Update: OSP seeks witnesses who saw minivan before fatal crash)
Oregon State Police said Wednesday they want to hear from anyone who witnessed a minivan being driven recklessly on Highway 97 before it struck the rear of a pickup on Highway 97 near Sunriver last week, causing a crash that killed a Bend man.
OSP Captain Bill Fugate said Shannon Ray Rogers, 55, of Goldendale, Washington, “is believed to have been driving in a reckless manner” prior to the Dec. 6 crash that killed Brian Jay Harris, 56, of Bend.
OSP investigators believe Rogers was traveling from Fresno, California, to Goldendale at the time of the crash.
Anyone who might have seen Rogers’ silver 2006 Nissan Quest driving in an unsafe manner is urged to contact Senior Trooper Toni Raugust at 503-375-3555.
Rogers is still recovering from the crash at St. Charles Bend, Fugate said, adding that no more information is being released at this time.
The crash occurred around 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6 in the northbound lanes at milepost 151, about a mile north of the Cottonwood Road interchange, OSP Sgt. Kyle Hove said.
A preliminary investigation found that Rogerswas heading north when, for unknown reasons, it struck the rear of a northbound white 1981 Toyota pickup driven by Harris.
The pickup veered off the road and struck a tree, while the minivan also continued north, also leaving the road and hitting a tree, Hove said.
Harris was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hove said alcohol and speed were being investigated as possible contributing factors in the crash, which closed Highway 97 for about 30 minutes, until one alternating lane was opened for traffic.
There was a bit of frost and ice on the road shoulder, but troopers said weather was not a factor in the crash.
OSP was assisted at the scene by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Sunriver Fire Department, Bend Fire and Rescue and ODOT.
Harris’s younger brother, Patrick Harris, 51, of La Pine, contacted NewsChannel 21 about his brother, who he said had a gift to play baseball as a catcher.
He also had a message for the other driver in the deadly crash:
“I forgive that person,” he said. “We all make mistakes.”
However, his sister later contacted NewsChannel 21 with a different view.
"He's not forgiven by the whole family," she said. "Brian didn't have a choice when it came to being hit by a drunk driver. We all make mistakes, but (Rogers) chose to get in a car drunk."