Sweet Home man dies in Highway 20 crash


Driver not found at scene, police investigation continuing

A 20-year-old Sweet Home man died shortly before midnight on Friday, Jan. 3, when the vehicle he was riding in crashed on Highway 20 near Clem Road, which is about a mile east of Ellmaker State Wayside and near the eastern border of Lincoln County.

The Oregon State Police responded to the crash scene, and an investigation determined that a silver Dodge Dakota pickup had been traveling east when, for unknown reasons, the driver lost control and struck the eastbound guardrail. The pickup then went across the roadway and up the hill of the opposing shoulder before crashing head-on into a tree.

A front seat passenger, identified as Tanner James Jewell, died at the scene. A female on the scene claimed to be the middle seat passenger and described an unknown male as the driver at the time of the crash — she said she only knew the man’s first name. An extensive search of the area was conducted, and no other occupants were located. There were no signs of anyone being ejected from the vehicle during the crash, according to an OSP report.

The female passenger was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis, where she was further interviewed by police. The accident remains under investigation.

The next of kin notification was completed by the Oregon State Police Albany Patrol Office. The vehicle was removed from the scene by Coast Towing and transported to the Oregon State Police Newport Patrol Office as evidence. The decedent was taken by Bateman’s Funeral Home of Newport.

OSP was assisted by the Toledo Fire Department, Philomath Fire Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, ODOT Maintenance, ODOT Incident Response, Pacific West Ambulance, Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office and Lincoln County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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