POLK COUNTY -- One person died and five people received serious injuries Monday evening, Feb. 5, after a head-on crash on Highway 18 about four miles east of Spirit Mountain casino.
It was the second crash at this location in the past two days involving an intoxicated driver crossing over and striking a vehicle in the oncoming lane, seriously injuring the other drivers and passengers.
At approximately 8:40 p.m. a red 1989 Buick Riviera driven by Thomas C. Johnston, 58, of Woodburn, was eastbound near milepost 27 when it veered across the centerline into the westbound lane and hit a black 2006 BMW sedan driven by Tru Q. Dao, 27, of Beaverton.
Witnesses reported that prior to the crash, the Johnston vehicle struck a lamp post in the casino parking lot. It then continued, hitting a traffic pylon on Highway 18.
Johnson died of his injuries. Testing showed he had a high blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash.
Although they were using seat belts and their air bags deployed, Dao and front passenger Tai N. Nguyen, 21, of Portland, were seriously injured. They were transported to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville.
Rear passengers Vinh P. Huynh, 26, of Beaverton, Hau D. Le, 23, of Beaverton, and Tu Tran, 23, of Beaverton, all were badly injured and were taken Salem Hospital.
OSP troopers, the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Polk County Sheriff's Office, West Valley Fire Department and ODOT all responded. The highway was closed for two hours.
DUI cited in crash near casino
Oregon State Police troopers were called out early Sunday morning, Feb. 4, to investigate a two-vehicle head-on crash on Highway 18 about four miles east of Spirit Mountain Casino that seriously injured three people. One driver, Sean M. McCulloch, 38, of Willamina was charged with numerous crimes.
At about 12:45 a.m., McCulloch's red 1991 Toyota Corolla was westbound on Highway 18 near milepost 27 when it veered across the center line into the eastbound lane. After just missing two eastbound vehicles, it hit a white 1999 Mercedes C230 driven by Ung H. Lam, 72, of Tigard.
Lam and his passenger, Anh Bui, 65, of Tigard were seriously injured even though they wore seat belts and their car's air bags deployed. They were taken to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville.
McCulloch, who was wearing his selt belt, also received serious injuries in the head-on crash. He was transported to Salem Hospital.
McCulloch has been cited for DUII, reckless driving, assault in the third degree (2 counts), and recklessly endangering (6 counts).
OSP Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Polk County Sheriff's Office, West Valley Fire Department, and ODOT.
Shots fired at Highway 22 driver
Anyone who may have witnessed or has information about a shooting incident Jan. 28 on Highway 22 is asked to contact Oregon State Police at 800-452-7888.
At approximately 10 p.m. on that date, a Sunday, a 24-year-old Salem man was westbound in his 2004 Nissa Pathfinder near Highway 22's intersection with Highway 99W when somneone fired three shots at him. All three rounds lodged in the vehicle but the driver, who police are not naming at this time, was uninjured.
The man told police he saw a 1990s gray four-door sedan following him on the highway out of West Salem. Its occupants were three males and a female, at least two of which yelled and motioned for him to pull over. When he began to slow down, the shots were fired.
The victim said he was able to speed up and get away from the area, and then call police.
OSP detectives are still investigating the incident.