Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of a Lincoln County-area interagency crash team, is continuing the investigation into the cause of Sunday morning's single vehicle traffic crash that resulted in the death of two people along Highway 20 near Eddyville. The involved vehicle traveled off the highway and came to rest submerged on its top in the Yaquina River. The names of the two victims who were students at Oregon State University are released in this update.
On May 4, 2014 at approximately 11:13 a.m., OSP Northern Command Center dispatch received a report of a vehicle rolling off Highway 20 near milepost 17 and coming to rest in the Yaquina River. Emergency responders from Toledo Fire Department, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, OSP and ODOT were dispatched to the scene.
A 2000 Chevrolet Impala driven by ABIGAIL PATRICIA EMERSON, age 21, from Roseburg, was eastbound on Highway 20 negotiating a sharp right curve when it began to fishtail. EMERSON lost control, nearly hitting another vehicle and then went off the eastbound shoulder of the highway approximately 40 feet down an embankment into the Yaquina River where it came to rest submerged in the water on its top. Witnesses were unable to get to the car's occupants.
Emergency responders arrived on scene and went into the water where they got inside the overturned vehicle and found the driver and passenger CHRISTOPHER J. KAZANSKI, age 24, from Madison, Wisconsin, inside unconscious. Both were transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis and pronounced deceased after arrival.
OSP troopers from the Newport Area Command office, with the assistance of an OSP collision reconstructionist and the Lincoln County-area interagency crash team, are continuing the investigation. Crash investigation team members from OSP, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Newport Police Department, Lincoln City Police Department, and Lincoln County District Attorney's Office responded to the scene to assist.
The highway was closed for a brief period and then open to one lane of travel until investigator cleared the scene.