Local News – Snow and slick driving; Body found in burned out vehicle; More dollars for Donnie; Viking Wrestlers take 3rd

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Driving could be a real challenge today…

Emergency responders and tow-truck operators were kept busy in Western Oregon yesterday and overnight as snow and rain mixed to create hazardous conditions.  Highway 126 in the Veneta area was closed for several hours as officials there investigated a fatal crash near milepost 42.  52-year old Edward Jay Bray of Eugene was killed in the crash when another vehicle slid out of control and struck his vehicle head-on.

Highway 126 between Mapleton and Eugene offered plenty of challenges again this morning as slick conditions have caused several crashes.  In the Florence area snow on top of already frozen roadways prompted public safety officials to urge caution when driving.  35th Street was closed for a while this morning because motorists were having difficulty negotiating the steep incline.

It’s expected to be cold, white and slick through tomorrow in western Oregon, but weather forecasters say there’s a change in the weather coming… and not necessarily for the better. A high wind watch will be in effect beginning Wednesday morning and forecasters say heavy rains will accompany south winds gusting to 60 or 70 miles an hour.

Body found in burned out vehicle

A criminal investigation is underway after firefighters and police found the body of a Portland man in a burning vehicle north of Florence last week.  Firefighters were dispatched to Highway 101 at Big Creek Road, 13 miles north of Florence late Tuesday night.  The remains in the van were later identified as those of 22-year old Jude Mahaffy of Portland.  Oregon State Police and the Lane County District Attorney’s office are investigating the incident and have released no further information.

More dollars for Donnie

Students at Siuslaw Elementary School spent an hour walking Friday afternoon to help raise money for their classmate, 9-year old Donnie Luizzi who was diagnosed last month with a rare brain tumor.  Larry Rudder of Florence understands what Donnie and his dad are going through.  His daughter Cheyenne is a cancer survivor so he and his co-workers at Evergreen Concrete are challenging other contractors to pitch in and help out.

Larry Rudder – “You know, Cheyenne had cancer and helping these kids, you know, with every little thing they get, the family too, you know, it’s a Godsend. Because it’s a rough, a rough road to travel.  We’ve been there with Cheyenne.”

Insurance is covering much of the treatment cost, but Donnie and his father, Don Luizzi are spending lots of time staying in hotels and on the highway as the fourth grader undergoes treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Viking Wrestlers finish well at Nick Lutz Invitational

The Newport Cubs were the tournament champion Saturday at Siuslaw High School in the Nick Lutz Wrestling Invitational with 165 points, Stayton was 2nd with 139.

The host Siuslaw Vikings were third with 131 ½ points and came away with two individual champions and one second place finish.  Jason Graber at 132 pounds, and Sonny Tupua at 220, each came away with “superior” decisions, Graber by a score of 13-2, Tupua at 16-7.

Peter Tupua was defeated in the final match at 285 pounds by last year’s 4A state champion to finish in 2nd place.

Four other Viking Wrestlers ‘placed’ in the meet, three in 4th place:  Edwin Vasquez at 106 pounds; Hayden Miles at 152; and at 170 pounds, Jesse Kuntz.  Freshman Luke Carroll tied for 5th at 145 pounds.

On the prep basketball court… in Boys’ Basketball… The Siuslaw Vikings fell to one-and-one in Far West Play with a hard fought 53-42 loss on the road Friday night to the Brookings-Harbor Bruins.  In the other two Far West games North Bend beat Sutherlin 59-40, South Umpqua beat Douglas 63-54.  Reedsport fell to the Tigers in Bandon 48 – 37.  Saturday in the Mountain West, the Mapleton Sailors edged Alsea 36 – 35.

For the girls… Brookings-Harbor dominated from the start Friday night handing the Siuslaw Vikings a 46-22 loss on the road.  Douglas beat South Umpqua 62-44 and it was Sutherlin over North Bend by a score of 51-28.  The Reedsport Braves beat Bandon 47 – 23 and Saturday it was Mapleton over Alsea 46-34.