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July 2, 2014
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Update: Coos Bay man dies when car goes into Umpqua River

REEDSPORT — A man killed Wednesday afternoon in a car accident on Highway 38 east of Reedsport has been identified as Kenneth Ray Richards of Coos Bay, according to Oregon State Police.

Richards, 54, was driving a 1991 Ford Explorer west near Milepost 6 around 3:50 p.m. when for an unknown reason he went off the highway and became submerged in the Umpqua River, OSP Lt. Steve Mitchell said.

Oregon Department of Transportation employees discovered the crash and reported it to law enforcement and emergency responders, he said.

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies and ODOT employees went into the river and confirmed Richards was dead, Mitchell said.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene with a boat and helicopter, along with OSP fish and wildlife troopers in a second boat, to search the river for other possible victims, Mitchell said.

Emergency responders determined Richards was the only occupant.

He was not using safety restraints.

OSP troopers with the Coos Bay Area Command office are continuing the investigation.

The Reedsport Police Department, Lakeside Fire Department Dive Team and Lower Umpqua Ambulance also assisted.

One lane was blocked for about five hours.

This version of the story was posted Wednesday afternoon:

A man was killed Wednesday afternoon on Highway 38 east of Reedsport after the sport utility vehicle he was driving left the road and went into the Umpqua River, according to Oregon State Police.

The victim’s identity has not yet been released.

The vehicle was traveling westbound near Milepost 6 at about 3:50 p.m. when for an unknown reason it went off the highway and became submerged in the river, OSP Lt. Steve Mitchell said.

Oregon Department of Transportation employees discovered the crash and reported it to law enforcement and local emergency responders, he said.

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies and ODOT employees went into the river and confirmed the driver was dead, Mitchell said.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene with a boat and helicopter, along with OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers in a second boat, to search the river for anyone else who may have been in the vehicle, Mitchell said.

Emergency responders determined the driver was the only occupant.

The victim was not using safety restraints.

OSP troopers with the Coos Bay Area Command office are continuing the investigation.

The Reedsport Police Department, Lakeside Fire Department Dive Team and Lower Umpqua Ambulance also assisted.

One lane was blocked for about five hours.


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The News-Review Updated Jul 3, 2014 12:25PM Published Jul 2, 2014 06:18PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.