GRAND RONDE -- A Willamina-area couple suffered serious injuries in an accident Sunday, Aug. 21, involving a motorcycle and a sport utility vehicle near Grand Ronde.
According to Oregon State Police Trooper Sean McIntyre, at about 5 p.m. on Highway 18 near milepost 20, a westbound 1998 Honda CRV was in the process of turning left onto Ford Road when a 1990 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was passing stopped eastbound traffic on the shoulder crashed into the passenger side of the SUV.
Both motorcycle occupants were ejected over the top of the Honda and landed on the roadway. Motorcycle operator Michael Dean Spittles, 51, was flown to Salem Hospital with serious injuries. His wife, Teresa Spittles, 45, who was a passenger on the motorcycle, was taken to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville with nonlife threatening injuries. Both were wearing protective helmets, police said.
Traffic was "stop and go" at the time of the accident due to people returning from the coast. Witnesses told investigating troopers the motorcycle had been passing traffic on the shoulder at a speed of 45 to 50 mph for a long distance before the crash, according to an Oregon State Police press release.
The driver of the Honda, Grand Ronde resident Terence Lee Hedges, was using safety restraints and was not injured.
OSP troopers from the McMinnville Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
Polk County Sheriff's Office, West Valley Fire District and Oregon Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.