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Three Fatal Wrecks Along Hwy 6: Oregon Coast Leaders Urge Caution

Published 08/04/21 at 4:22 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Fatal Wrecks Along Hwy 6: Oregon Coast Leaders Urge Caution

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(Tillamook, Oregon) – One of the more white-knuckled drives to and from the Oregon coast just got even more dangerous. Oregon Highway 6, between Banks in Washington County and the north Oregon coast town of Tillamook, has regional leaders concerned after three accidents in one week caused four fatalities. (Graphic courtesy Google Earth)

The route is a designated state scenic byway, said Nan Devlin, director of Tillamook Coast. However, she said “in the last week, the scene has changed from one of beautiful views to one of three car accidents, resulting in four deaths.”

Most of the incidents involved were the result of attempting to pass in restricted zones, causing head-on collisions that caused deaths and major injuries.

“Much of Highway 6 is a two-lane road with narrow lanes, limited shoulders and blind curves, and is used by semi-trucks, buses, RVs, campers, cars, motorcycles and bikes,” said Josh Brown, Tillamook County Sheriff. “Drivers don't realize that a decision to speed or pass another car without waiting for a designated passing lane can lead to a very dangerous, often fatal, situation.”

Now, various agencies on the north Oregon coast's Tillamook County – including public safety, emergency management, government and tourism – are asking motorists to drive more cautiously. Roads to the beach will be packed all summer so be patient, they urge; stash cell phones away, and take your time reaching your destination, whether heading east or west on Highway 6.

“Highway 6 is known as the Trees to Sea Scenic Byway, and is meant to be enjoyed at a safe pace,” said Tillamook County Commissioner Erin Skaar. “We are saddened by the deaths of so many people whose lives were cut short by reckless driving. Please, slow down. It saves lives.”

Highway 6 saw the following incidents in the last week:

July 31. A two-vehicle collision on Hwy 6 occurred about 1 p.m., near milepost 30. A Ford pickup driven by a 50-year-old man from Provo, Utah was eastbound when it crossed into the westbound lane towards the Oregon coast and struck a GMC Sierra pickup driven by 43-year-old Jason Pierce, of Fairview, Oregon.

Pierce and a juvenile passenger died in the accident. Two others in that vehicle were transported to the hospital for their injuries.

The driver of the pickup and two youths were not injured, however a fourth juvenile was taken to the hospital.

July 29. At around 2 a.m., a two-vehicle crash occurred near milepost 5, according to Oregon State Police. 41-year-old Richard Rose of Portland crossed into the other lane and struck a semi-truck. Rose was transported to a Portland hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the semi sustained no injuries.

July 26. A two-vehicle crash happened about 7 a.m. near milepost 33, when a Honda CRV was negotiating a curve and crossed into the other lane, striking a Dodge pickup. The passenger of the CRV died at the scene while the driver of the pickup was uninjured.

Each of these crashes closed Highway 6 for a time, delaying traffic to and from the Oregon coast.

A fourth accident back on June 24 resulted in one person being taken to the hospital after one vehicle pulled out of a road in front of another.

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