Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a danger on the roads. Far too often, it is others who suffer the consequences of their decision to get behind the wheel in that condition. There is an accident that causes fatal injuries. Lives are cut short. Families and friends are left to grieve.
That’s the situation many people in Estacada are now struggling with after a recent fatal car accident.
On Memorial Day, a car was traveling on South Springwater Road when the driver appeared to lose control. The car went into a spin, crossing the center line and crashing into a white Ford pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction.
Three of the car’s five occupants were killed in the crash – Zackary Brian, 18; Jordan Stores, 17; and Reagan Alves, 14.
The 18-year-old driver was arrested and is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Remembering the victims
Residents of the rural community of about 3,500 in Clackamas County were left in shock by the deadly crash. In June, more than 400 people attended a candlelight vigil for the three teens who lost their lives. Friends shared their memories – “a confident, energetic middle-schooler,” “a goofball and class clown,” a friend who “gave the best hugs in the world.”
The driver made his first court appearance earlier that day.
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is against the law in Oregon, and for good reason. It is not safe for anyone on the road when a driver is under the influence. Different drugs can affect driving ability in different ways.
- Alcohol and marijuana can slow reaction time and impair judgment of time and distance.
- Methamphetamine and cocaine can lead to aggressive and reckless driving behaviors.
- Opioids can cause drowsiness and impair memory and thinking skills.
- Sedatives, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates, can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
Impaired drivers can easily cause car accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries. Despite widespread knowledge about the dangers of impaired driving, it remains a serious problem. According to the CDC, 1,176 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Oregon from 2009 to 2018.
That doesn’t even take into account accidents caused by drivers who were impaired by other drugs.
Our car accident lawyers help Oregon families seek justice
The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Impaired Driving Program continues its effort to reduce drunk and drugged driving on many fronts – including education, law enforcement, and public outreach.
Kya Bentley, 17, was the only surviving passenger in the Estacada crash. She suffered serious injuries, but she doesn’t remember any details about the accident.
“All of a sudden everybody was dead,” she said.
Generally, families of loved ones can take civil action to hold impaired drivers financially accountable for their reckless actions. Nothing will ever replace their loss, however, and the process is far from straightforward or easy.
That’s why it’s important to get experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis have been fighting for the rights of crash victims in the Portland area for decades. If you were injured in a car accident or a loved one died in an accident caused by an impaired driver, contact us for a free case evaluation.