The accident that caused the shutdown of highway 101 for more than 6 hours yesterday took the life of two individuals and injured two more. Oregon State police say that at about 7:20 am they responded to a two vehicle crash around milepost 196. Their preliminary investigation show that a Ford Contour driven by 51 year old Rhonda Wild from Fresno, California was driving northbound in the southbound lane when is struck a southbound Nissan Titan driven by 46 year old Jason Smith of Prineville. Both Wild and Smith suffered fatal injuries and were pronounced dead. Two passengers from the Nissan, 47 year old Heidi Smith and a juvenile were taken to Peace Harbor hospital with unknown injuries. Traffic was rerouted through the area as OSP continued their investigation into the afternoon. Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, Western Lane Ambulance, the Lane County Sheriff’s department and ODOT responded.
Extreme Heat Warning
An extreme heat alert has been issued by Lane County for areas just east of Florence as temperatures towards Mapleton and into Eugene are expected to range from the low to upper 90’s today and tomorrow. Residents should be aware of the signs of heat related illness and stay safe by staying cool. Health officials say those at greatest risk are adults 65 and older, athletes, and people with chronic illness, overweight individuals and those who work outdoors. Individuals should wear light clothing, stay hydrated and schedule outdoor activities for the cooler morning hours or late evening. If you or someone you know begins to suffer from heat stroke, find a cooler spot and apply cooling cloths or use a garden hose or if possible a cool shower and call 911.
Pedestrian Enforcement Operation
This Saturday the Florence Police Department will conduct a Pedestrian Enforcement Operation at either 9th and Kingwood or at 9th and maple depending on road construction. Drivers should stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which the driver is traveling and the adjacent lane. On a two lane street this means the vehicle must remain stopped until the pedestrian completely exits the intersection. Crosswalks are considered any public street intersection whether or not it is marked by white paint. The operation will take place from 10 am until 1 pm.
Three more Florence individuals were reported having COVID-19 yesterday by Lane County Public Health. They were part of 67 new cases reported for the county. There were 804 new cases across the state. 17 counties had double digit numbers yesterday. Jackson and Multnomah counties had 91 and 80 cases respectively. Hospitalizations are getting close to 300 as they increased by 15 yesterday. Jason Davis with Lane County Public health told coast radio news that until counties reach that 70% mark for fully vaccinated individuals there will continue to be high rates of infection, particularly of the Delta Variant. Davis says vaccination numbers have reached a plateau and some health officials believe that the virus will continue to mutate with the possibility of more variants. Davis is urging individuals to get a vaccination to potentially ward off even worse strains. A vaccination clinic has been set up for Saturday at Siuslaw middle school from noon until 3 pm with all three of the available vaccines and will include individuals 12 and older.