Hwy. 97 crash victims ID'd as Wash. mother, son

Passing car hit by semi on way to Young Life camp near Antelope

SHANIKO, Ore. - Oregon State Police on Friday identified a Washington state mother and son who were killed Wednesday afternoon when the man's car pulled into the oncoming lane on Highway 97 in Sherman County to pass a semi truck and was struck by another, oncoming semi.

Jacques Robert Gordon, 21, of Burien, Wash., was at the wheel of the southbound Toyota Corolla, accompanied by his mother, Renee Parent, 54, also of Burien, when the car was struck in the driver's side by the oncoming truck, troopers said.

OSP Sgt. Les Kipper said the mother and son were heading to a Young Life camp near Antelope, heading south on Highway 97 between Kent and Shaniko, when the crash occurred around 2:45 p.m.  Wednesday.

Gordon's car moved into the northbound lane, trying to pass a southbound commercial truck, when Gordon lost control as a northbound commercial truck approached, Kipper said.

The car crossed broadside toward the southbound lane and was struck in the driver's side in the northbound lane by the commercial truck driven by Gene Weller II, 58, from Yucaipa, Calif.

After the initial collision, the southbound commercial truck driven by Lawrence Handel, 67, from Hermiston, was involved in a secondary collision and the northbound truck driven by Weller traveled off the east side of the highway before coming to rest.

With the help of people who stopped at the scene, Weller, who was wearing his seat belt, got out of his truck and later was taken by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Gordon and Parent were pronounced dead at the scene. Handel was unhurt, troopers said.

The highway was closed for several hours before being open to one lane as the scene investigation progressed.

OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office were investigating the cause of the crash. Trooper Matt Zistel is the lead investigator.

Assistance at the scene was provided by the Sherman County Sheriff's Office, Moro Rural Fire Protection District, North Sherman County Rural Fire Protection District, South Sherman Fire Protection District, Sherman County Ambulance and ODOT.

According to ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 146 people have died in traffic crashes in Oregon through July 10 of this year.

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