OSP Continuing Fatal Crash on I-84, Six Miles West of Arlington – Gilliam County


Photo Courtesy of Oregon State Police

On Sunday, May 1, 2016, at approximately 4:33 a.m., Oregon State Police (OSP) was notified of a single vehicle rollover crash which had occurred on Interstate 84 near milepost 132 westbound (six miles west of Arlington). Medical personnel from the Gilliam County Fire Department and Oregon State Police arrived and located two individuals who were both severely injured.

The driver was identified as Justin Matthew FLOWERS, age 24, from Portland, and the passenger, Hayden Michael SWANSON, age 23, from Portland. Life Flight transported FLOWERS to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington and SWANSON was transported by ground ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles. During transport to the hospital, FLOWERS succumbed to his injuries. After arrival at the hospital in The Dalles, SWANSON was also transported by Life Flight to OHSU in Portland, where he is in critical but stable condition.

The investigation revealed the vehicle, a 1999 Chevy C15 SUV, had been westbound on the interstate in the early morning hours, when for an unknown reasons it left the roadway, crashed through the north side guardrail and rolled down a rock embankment, coming to rest approximately 150 feet from the roadway. Preliminary information indicates that both FLOWERS and SWANSON had not been using their seat belts at the time of the crash and were ejected from the vehicle. Speed and fatigue are being considered to be contributing factors for the crash.

Oregon State Police was assisted by Gilliam County Ambulance, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), Life flight, Richland Police Department and Benton County Washington Coroner’s Office.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those involved in this accident. This was a terrible accident, and we hope everyone involved in the crash knows that there are thinking of their families and the life lost.

One of the most difficult parts of an accident like this is the fact that there will be immediate bills that will need to be taken care of in a timely manner. The period after an accident like this can be a very confusing and challenging time especially when friends and family may be involved. We feel fortunate to be able to provide victims of these types of accidents with resources that help navigate these challenging and trying times. We hope these resources help answer some of the difficult questions you have after an accident and how mounting medical bills or a wrongful death can be addressed.

This is a sensitive time for all those involved but it is important to remember that the lives of those left behind must be protected to the fullest extent of the law.

Oregon wrongful death claims are allowed under ORS 30.020, but the law is much more complicated than a normal accident case. First of all, the statute of limitations (SOL)(time limit on filing a claim) is different. For most car accidents, the SOL is two years, but for wrongful death, the SOL is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .”

Additionally, there are limits on who can bring a wrongful death claim. The most common claimants are:

  • Spouses
  • Children (including stepchildren)
  • Parents (including stepparents)

Less common claimants include:

  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

In a wrongful death case, you can ask for compensation for several types of damages such as:

  • Charges for medical services;
  • Charges for burial and memorial services;
  • Compensation that the decedent would have been entitled to for disability, pain and suffering, and loss of income during the period between injury and death;
  • Compensation for “pecuniary loss” to the decedent’s estate;
  • Compensation for the loss of the decedent’s “society, companionship and services” to the decedent’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents, and parents;

Punitive damages are allowed as well, but are rare in Oregon since the State takes 70% of punitive damages awarded. If you have lost a loved one, call a Portland wrongful death attorney for help in securing the compensation you deserve.


About Sean DuBois

Sean is a personal injury attorney in Portland, OR. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as Oregon Rising Stars for the past four years because of his dedication to justice and fair compensation for his clients. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your injury case, Sean can be reached at 503-222-4411.

Posted on May 1, 2016, in Automobile Accidents, Car Accidents, Oregon Car Accidents, Wrongful Death and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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