SISTERS, Ore. - (Update: Second driver identified)
Oregon State Police on Thursday released the name of an Ontario man, the second of two drivers killed two weeks ago when a car was struck by a van that crossed the centerline of U.S. Highway 20 about a mile east of Santiam Pass.
Linda A. Davis, who was driving a 2010 Subaru Legacy, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, as was the driver of a 2003 Ford van that was towing a trailer. The 47-year-old man was identified Thursday, after family notification, as Michael A. Carter of Ontario, said OSP Captain Bill Fugate.
The crash occurred around 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 amid rainy conditions on the pass.
A preliminary investigation indicated Carter's van was heading east on the highway when it crossed the double centerline and struck Davis's Subaru head-on, OSP Lt. Mark Duncan said.
Neither vehicle carried any passengers, Duncan added.
Highway 20 was closed for about an hour, before one lane opened with flaggers for alternating traffic, which backed up in both directions for several hours.
ODOT had advised motorists that without a local detour, "Travelers should take alternate routes or delay travel and avoid the area."
Follow traffic updates at our ODOT TripCheck page.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, a two-vehicle crash that injured three people closed Highway 126 at Powell Butte for a time.
The Powell Butte crash, reported shortly after 12:30 p.m., occurred near milepost 8, according to Duncan. ODOT crews were on scene and reported the highway closed for a while, but Duncan said one lane was open by 1:20 p.m., with ODOT crews on scene.
Redmond Fire and Crook County first responders also were called to the scene. Highway 126 as fully reopened before 2 p.m. No further initial details were available.
Meanwhile, ODOT is warning that a seasonal mix of low temperatures and moisture is creating the potential for winter driving conditions, including snow on some Central Oregon highways Friday morning and over the weekend.
The agency advised motorists to keep a watchful eye for snow and ice conditions, especially at higher elevations during early morning hours.
The potential risk exists for skidding, sliding and subsequent crashing due to a loss of traction in areas that experience these conditions including Highway 97 over Lava Butte and mountain passes. Bridges are particularly susceptible.
ODOT is asking motorists to check local forecasts and visit TripCheck.com to learn more about local and state highway conditions.
We asked some drivers waiting in the Highway 20 backup about how they prepare for winter conditions.
One driver on his way to Eugene said he's already winterized his car and brings food and water to be prepared for any stops that may happen. He also stressed heightened awareness while driving in wintry conditions.
"Braking distance, cornering, definitely taking it easy," Nick McCormick said. "And then, packing good nutrition in the car, in case I do get stuck like now. I've got plenty of snacks."
John DeGroot, on his way to Portland, echoed McCormick's thoughts.
"Slow down a little. (Drivers are) not invincible if they have four-wheel drive, or even studs. (You've) just got to be available for the conditions that are happening."