Seven Washington relatives, including five children, were among the eight killed Monday in a head-on crash in eastern Oregon. The family members were on their way to Las Vegas for an end-of-summer trip, according to another family member.
According to reports, the fatal crash occurred when a 1999 Toyota 4Runner crashed into the family’s new 2016 Toyota 4Runner.
Eight people died in the crash: the seven family members in the newer SUV and the lone person in the other SUV. The driver of the other SUV was identified as Mark Robert Rundell, 48, of Prairie City.
A family member of the seven related victims, Jessie Tate, stated that his family is devastated by the unexpected deaths of his sister and her children. He said that he first learned of the crash from other relatives and says that he later called his father who told him, who had been involved.
“She was outgoing, personable, made friends everywhere she went, and her kids took after her,” Tate said. “They all just cared about everyone around them.” Oregon State Police, who are investigating, said the driver traveling alone veered into opposing traffic on the two-lane highway while heading west and collided with the SUV carrying the family.
The collision is among the deadliest state crashes in recent years. Five people were killed in a two-car crash near Salem in October. One driver involved was later charged with manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants and other charges in the collision that killed a mother, her three children and her niece.
Traffic fatalities in the U.S. jumped for the second straight year in 2016 despite a dip in crash deaths linked to distracted driving, according to data released by federal highway safety regulators.
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