WHITE CITY, Ore. —
UPDATE: A crash along Highway 140 east of White City on Thursday claimed the life of one driver and injured two others — all due to an attempt to pass in a no-passing zone, according to Oregon State Police (OSP).
After troopers and emergency teams arrived at the scene around 5 p.m., they found two vehicles that had crashed near milepost 14.5. Investigators came to believe that 37-year-old Richard Cota of Bonanza was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane at a "high rate of speed" — apparently passing vehicles in a no-passing zone.
Meanwhile, 52-year-old Frederick French of Klamath Falls was traveling westbound. When French saw Cota approaching, French veered onto the westbound gravel shoulder in order to avoid a crash with Cota's vehicle.
Unfortunately, Cota had also veered onto the westbound shoulder, and the two vehicles connected.
Cota — the driver of the illegally passing vehicle — was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, 33-year-old Amanda Cota of Bonanza, sustained injuries and was brought by ambulance to Rogue Regional Medical Center.
French sustained injuries and was transported by air ambulance to Rogue Regional Medical Center.
Highway 140 was closed for approximately 1.5 hours following the crash with a detour through Lake Creek Loop.
(Updated 10/4/18 at 7 p.m.)
UPDATE: A detour is now in place for travelers along Hwy 140 using Lake Creek Loop Road, according to ODOT.
(Updated 10/4/18 at 6 p.m.)
INITIAL REPORT: Highway 140 is closed east of White City due to a head-on crash, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
The crash is located near milepost 14.5 along Hwy 140. It was a head-on crash involving two vehicles with "major injuries."
ODOT says to expect a lengthy closure while the crash is investigated. They recommend using alternate routes.