Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Friday night's two-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of three Parkdale-area women on Highway 35 about two miles south of Hood River.
The crash is a reminder of the dangers when traveling on icy stretches of highway even if the air temperature is above freezing.
According to OSP Sergeant Julie Wilcox, on Jan. 2, 2009, at 8:42 p.m. a 1997 Geo Metro driven by Cheree Cluff, 24, Parkdale, was southbound on an uphill curve when it slid out of control on black ice. The Geo crossed into the northbound lane and collided with a 2007 Jeep Wrangler driven by Vincent Hogan, 24, Tacoma. Both vehicles came to a stop on the northbound side.
Cheree Cluff and right front passenger Jan Cluff, 16, were pronounced deceased at the scene. Two other passengers, Clarissa Ortiz, 13, Parkdale, and Shannon Cluff, 13, were transported to Providence Hood River Hospital.
Ortiz was critically injured and died from those injuries at the hospital.
Shannon Cluff was ejected from the car and received non-life threatening injuries.
The three deceased victims were using safety restraints. Shannon Cluff was not using safety restraints.
The Cluff women are sisters and Ortiz was a friend of Shannon Cluff.
None of the four occupants of the Jeep Wrangler were injured. All were using safety restraints. The three passengers are identified as Kerry Cafazzo, 22, Tacoma; Jennifer Bravo, 20, Puyallup, and, Dylan Mills, 24, Fort Lewis.
Sergeant Wilcox noted OSP troopers were already working several other crashes related to black ice conditions on Interstate 84 at the time of this crash.
"Monitor the temperature and remember that ice-related crashes can occur even when the air temperature is well over freezing. Severe black ice conditions were present even with an air temperature of 38 degrees," said Wilcox.
Highway 35 was closed in both directions for three hours.
OSP troopers were assisted by Hood River County Sheriff's Office deputies, Hood River Police Department and ODOT.
Interstate 84 eastbound lanes were closed about three hours Monday morning east of Mosier following multiple ice-related commercial truck crashes including a jackknifed set of double trailers at the Memaloose Rest Area. Highway conditions were icy caused by freezing rain on top of packed snow.
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Senior Trooper Michael Holloran, on Jan. 5, 2009, at 4:43 a.m. a commercial truck pulling two semi-trailers was eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 72 when the rear trailer started sliding on ice. Driver James T. Leek, 52, Vancouver, attempted to regain control but all vehicles began to slide sideways and jackknife. The rear trailer rolled on its side onto the center median, and the truck and first trailer came to a stop across the eastbound lanes and shoulder.
The eastbound lanes were closed to avoid further problems and traffic was re-routed through Memaloose Rest Area with help of ODOT sanding equipment.
As the jackknifed vehicles were being removed by a tow company, four unchained commercial trucks slid into each other near milepost 71. The second incident completely closed eastbound lanes for an hour as another OSP trooper helped get the trucks chained up and moving.
The first incident near the rest area was cleared and vehicles moved onto the eastbound shoulder so all lanes could be opened around 8 a.m.
A Lyle woman suffered injuries in a two-vehicle accident that occurred on Jan. 4, 2009, at approximately 6:35 p.m. The accident occurred on State Route 14 at milepost 21, three miles east of Washougal.
According to the report, Jennifer M. Graack, 23, Lyle, was traveling westbound on SR 14. A 2000 Subaru Legacy driven by Joseph D. Schlick, 55, Stevenson was traveling eastbound on SR 14. Graack lost control of her 1978 GMC pickup. It spun around and collided head on with the Subaru.
Graack suffered neck pain and was transported to Southwest Washington Medical Center. Schlick did not receive any injuries. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Road conditions at the time of the accident were compact snow and ice. Graack was cited for speeding too fast for conditions.