Tuesday, November 20, 2007
POLK COUNTY - The traffic death toll in Polk County, and specifically on Highway 223, continues to mount.
Patrick Mason Shellito, 81, of Rickreall was killed on the morning of Nov. 16 when he pulled his 2000 Ford Focus in front of an eastbound 1995 Mazda pickup on Highway 223 at the Rickreall junction.
It was the fourth fatal traffic accident in six weeks on Highway 223, although the other three were all further south, near the Bridgeport Road area.
State Police investigators said Shellito had stopped at a stop sign on Rickreall Road and was making a left turn onto Highway 223 at the time of the collision.
Traffic in the area was rerouted for three hours after the accident.
The Mazda was driven by John A. Cooper, 31, of Dallas. The impact sent Cooper and Shellito's wife, Imogene, 89, to Salem hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The Shellitos and Cooper were wearing safety belts, and the air bags on both vehicles deployed.
Polk County Sheriff's deputies, ODOT, and Dallas Fire Department assisted at the scene.