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Two Die In Crash On Highway 51

POLK COUNTY -- Two men died when the car they were in burst into flames following a three-vehicle collision on Highway 51 on Nov. 21, according to an Oregon State Police report.

POLK COUNTY -- Two men died when the car they were in burst into flames following a three-vehicle collision on Highway 51 on Nov. 21, according to an Oregon State Police report.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:45 a.m. about a mile south of the junction with Highway 22 near West Salem, OSP Lt. Greg Hastings said.

Victor Ramos-Torres, 20, of Independence was southbound on Highway 51 in a 2002 Nissan Sentra when he attempted to pass another vehicle despite foggy conditions, according to witness statements to OSP.

The Nissan lost control and slid broadside as a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup approached in the opposite lane, hitting the car on the driver's side, Hastings said.

The Nissan caught fire with Ramos-Torres and a passenger inside and rolled into a ditch on the northbound side of the road.

Both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene. The male passenger has not yet been identified, Hastings said.

The accident caused the canopy on the back of the Ford F-150 to fall off and crash into the windshield of a 1999 Honda Accord driven by Jeronimo Calderon-Aguilar, 25, of Salem, who was heading south.

Calderon-Aguilar and Norman Ray Collins, 56, of Monmouth, the driver of the pickup, were transported to Salem Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

All individuals in the three involved vehicles were wearing safety restraints, Hastings said.

Polk County Fire District No. 1 and Salem Fire Department assisted at the scene of the accident, which shut down Highway 51 for five hours.

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