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Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
June 26, 2012
KINGS VALLEY -- A Kings Valley woman was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 20 west of Blodgett Road on June 20.
Katherine Elaine Wells, 52, was a passenger in a 2000 Toyota 4-Runner that was heading west on the highway at about 4 p.m. when the accident happened, according to the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
The driver of the 4-runner, Wells' 16-year-old son, Austin, appeared to have fallen asleep at the wheel, drifted into the wrong lane, and collided head-on with an eastbound 2001 Lincoln Towncar, the sheriff's office said.
Both vehicles ended up facing north in the westbound lane about 10 feet from each other. Emergency responders pronounced Wells dead at the scene.
The 16-year-old and a 4- and 2-year-old also riding in the car were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis for treatment.
A press release by the sheriff's office doesn't indicate whether the driver of the Lincoln, Glenn Utterback, 53, of Jefferson suffered injuries.
Drugs or alcohol don't appear to be factors in the crash, which is still under investigation.
Wells was known in Polk and Benton counties for her service as a 4-H leader and as a past member of the Kings Valley-Hoskins Fire Department.
Witnesses to the incident are asked to call the Benton County Sheriff's Office at 541-766-6858.
(See Obituary, Page 6A)