Witnesses sought in Hwy. 97 double-fatal crash

July 19 crash N. of Madras involved car passing semi

MADRAS, Ore. - Oregon State Police troopers investigating a July 19 double-fatal crash on Hwy. 97 about seven miles north of Madras said Tuesday they are seeking other witnesses who may have left the scene before troopers could identify and interview them.

Any witnesses not contacted and interviewed are asked to contact OSP.

To date, OSP troopers identified and interviewed only one witness who remained at the scene, and they believe there were others.

To help generate contact from other witnesses, OSP is releasing two photographs obtained from arriving troopers' in-car video systems.

The two photographs show a white commercial truck stopped on the southbound shoulder just south of the crash scene that left before troopers could confirm if its driver was a witness.

Troopers weren't able to clearly identify the company name, and the vehicle license plate, possibly white in color, appears to be non-Oregon issued.

Around 5:30 p.m. on July 19,  a commercial truck was traveling southbound along Highway 97 near milepost 89 when a group of traffic began passing.

One of the passing vehicles, a rented 2013 Subaru Legacy four-door driven by Warren Chester Ward, 91, of Chula Vista, California, had insufficient clearance to complete the pass and collided head-on with a 1991 Ford Explorer with two occupants.

Both vehicles came to rest along the side of the highway, where a small fire started in the front section of the Subaru. The fire was extinguished by firefighters before it spread into the car's interior.

The crash resulted in the death of Ward and the other Ford's driver, Harold M. Curtis, 71, of Antelope, Oregon. A 68-year old female passenger in the Ford received non-life threatening injuries.

Previously released details can be read on OSP's website at:

Any witnesses not previously contacted and interviewed about the fatal traffic crash investigation are urged to call Trooper Justin Lane at (541) 388-6213 ext. 5128.

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