Both drivers were killed in a two-vehicle crash that occurred on McKay Road west of Aurora shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as Jessica Griego, 34, of Oregon City, and Martin Johnson, 65, of Willamina. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Also involved was Griego’s 4-year-old son, who was transported to a Portland area hospital and was reported Sunday to be in good condition.
Deputies interviewed witnesses at the scene who stated Griego’s silver Lexus R350 was traveling westbound on McKay Rd NE near Case Rd NE when it went into the oncoming lane of travel, striking Johnson’s black Ford Explorer Sport Trac head on. The sheriff’s office said it’s unclear if speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.
McKay Road was closed for several hours while deputies and other first responders worked the scene. The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office, Aurora Fire District, Woodburn Ambulance and Marion County Public Works.
The collision was the worst of several that occurred within a span of a few days in that area, in a year that has already seen a high number of deadly crashes on McKay. Three people died when a pickup truck collided head-on with a box van in late March, and another three died in a three-vehicle crash there last June.
A four-car collision in December resulted in several injuries, and one death: Mildred Schaber, an 81-year-old Newberg woman who was reportedly not wearing a seat belt. With this weekend’s crash, the death toll stands at nine in just the past 12 months.
It prompted a heartbreaking plea for help from St. Paul Fire Chief Bryan Lee to state Rep. Bill Post, who shared the message on his Facebook page.
“It’s getting really bad out here and any help you can come up with would be greatly appreciated,” Chief Lee said.
Rep. Post responded with a plea for residents to drive the rural roads more safely.
“This is SO tragic and SO avoidable,” he said. “In just the 4.5 years I’ve been serving this district, I don’t know how many have died out on McKay, Ehlen, French Prairie, Hwy 219 in North Marion County but it’s TOO many! People have GOT to slow down, drive them like they are: back country farm roads not freeways. Put away the cell phones and pay attention. TWO more dead! Man I’m so frustrated.”
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