The Oregon State Police (OSP) noted a reduction in total traffic crashes, fewer fatalities and a drop in DUII arrests during the Thanksgiving holiday period, Nov. 24 through Nov. 28.
Preliminary information indicates that four persons died in three fatal traffic crashes around the state. Last year, six people died in three fatal traffic crashes. The following is a short review of this year's incidents:
On Wednesday, Nov. 24, the Oregon State Police investigated a three-vehicle traffic crash on Highway 99E south of Oregon City that resulted in the death of a 45-year-old Woodburn woman.
On Friday, Nov. 26, the Portland Police Bureau investigated a traffic crash that resulted in the death of a 46-year-old Tigard man after he lost control of his vehicle, struck a barrier and flipped over on Interstate 84 near Northeast 33rd Avenue.
On Saturday, Nov. 27, the Oregon State Police investigated a two-vehicle traffic crash on US Highway 95 about 20 miles north of the Oregon/Nevada border that resulted in the death of a mother and child from California.
In total, OSP troopers responded to 450 traffic crashes around the state. This was a decrease of approximately 12 percent from last year when troopers responded to 512 traffic crashes. Previously highlighted problem areas on Interstate 5 in Albany and US Highway 26 at the mountain pass were fairly quiet this weekend, but the OSP Bend office noted another very busy holiday weekend as troopers responded to 31 traffic crashes. Most of these crashes occurred along the Highway 20 at the Santiam Pass.
Even though more officers were working in various areas around the state, OSP troopers noted fewer DUII arrests. This year a total of 58 DUII arrests were preliminarily reported by troopers, down about 28 percent from the 80 arrests noted last year.
"The reduction in DUII arrests was not for a lack of effort in trying to find and arrest those who had driven under the influence," said Captain Gerry Gregg, Director of the OSP Patrol Services Division. "We hope people really did put safety first when driving this Thanksgiving, and that they will do so again as we enter December and the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holiday periods."
The increased enforcement efforts paid off for troopers from the OSP Portland Area Command office as they participated with the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Oregon Liquor Control Commission in an interagency effort to detect and remove DUII driver's from east metro highways Nov. 27 and 28. The Portland Police Bureau reported the interagency effort resulted in 51 DUII arrests. A second interagency enforcement effort was announced for Dec. 10 and 11.
One area that the increased traffic did show higher results was noted in the number of disabled motorists assisted along the highways. This year OSP troopers reported 918 motorist assists, up from 538 assists last year.