Crash, Highway 26, News

OSP: Two dead after 90-year-old motorist drives into oncoming traffic near Banks

Tuesday’s crash on Highway 26 near Maller Road resulted in the deaths of two people, the Oregon State Police confirmed in a press release Thursday afternoon.

According to the state’s top law enforcement agency, state troopers responded to the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 26 near milepost 52 at approximately 12:38 p.m. Tuesday, August 15, northeast of the city of Banks.

The following comes from the Oregon State Police preliminary investigation, which was not independently verified by this newspaper.

According to OSP, a white Ford F-250, driven by Frederick Henry Kortlever, 90, of Astoria was headed east when he entered the westbound lane of traffic, driving head-on into a westbound silver GMC Savannah, driven by Erez Yair Mayer, 50, of Portland.

Another vehicle, a westbound black Honda Civic driven by John Larson, 23, of Troutdale, struck the rear of the Ford F-250 after it came to a rest in the westbound lane, OSP said.

Kortlever and Erez Mayer were both killed.

Two people were passengers in the GMC, a 15 year old male and a 16 year old female. Both were seriously injured and transported to a local hospital.

Larson and a passenger were reportedly uninjured during the crash

Highway 26 was “impacted” for about 5 and a half hours during their on-scene investigation, according to the Oregon State Police.

Also on scene were crews from the Banks Fire District, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office had said that Life Flight would be landing on the highway Tuesday afternoon, but it was not clear if a helicopter was used after all.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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