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Wrong-way driver faces prosecution

Senior heads east in westbound lanes

A 78-year old White Salmon man is facing several charges after being involved in an alcohol-related wrong-way crash in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 between Hood River and Mosier Friday evening.

Three people were injured in the head-on accident that closed the westbound lanes of the freeway for more than one hour.

According to Trooper Brent Ocheskey, the investigation indicates a 2004 Buick four-door driven by Leonard L. Gilbert, 78, from White Salmon was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes from the Hood River area.

As the Buick approached milepost 67 in the left westbound lane, a 2014 Ford Escape driven by Emily Smith, 28, of Spokane, Wash., swerved to the right to avoid the oncoming Buick.

The Buick struck the left rear corner of the Ford Escape and continued for a short distance where it collided head-on with a 1998 Toyota Camry occupied by two people.

Gilbert was transported by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center with serious, non-life threatening injuries.

The Toyota’s two

occupants were transported by ambulance to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

They were identified as driver Chelsea D. Ziegler, 21, and Samuel K. Lowe, 21, both of Camas, Wash.

Oscheskey said all of the occupants in both vehicles were wearing safety restraints that police, medical and fire responders credit with preventing more serious injury.

The incident occurred Sept. 6 about 8:33 p.m. Oregon State Police Troopers and Hood River law enforcement officials responded to the report of a vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-84 near milepost 64 in Hood River.

Shortly after the report, other calls were received by emergency dispatchers of a wreck near milepost 67.

Emergency responders from several agencies went to the scene and officers from Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office and OSP closed the westbound lanes at Mosier.

While at the scene investigating this incident, a commercial truck driver notified OSP troopers of a car weaving in and out of backed up traffic and passing on the freeway shoulder.

A trooper spotted the vehicle and when he pulled it over and spoke with the two occupants. the female passenger initially provided a false name.

She was later identified as Yvette Speedis, 43, from Wishram, Wash., and was determined to be wanted on two outstanding arrest warrants out of Wasco County for failure to appear.

Speedis was arrested and lodged in the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities in The Dalles.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River Police Department, ODOT, Hood River Fire & EMS, and Skyline EMS.


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