Linn County Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash - 10/10/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports, October 9, 2017, at 8:03 a.m., deputies investigated a fatal single motor vehicle crash. The crash occurred on Kingston Lyons Drive near the intersection of Highway 226, east of Scio.

The driver and sole occupant of the white 1990 Ford Econoline Van was identified as Michael Dee Miller,64, of Lyons. Miller was found wearing his seat belt and did not have any obvious trauma or injury. Evidence collected on scene indicates alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

The investigation reveals that between 12:02 a.m. and 7:58 a.m., Miller was operating the van and traveling east on Kingston Lyons Drive. For an unknown reason, Miller drove his van onto the gravel shoulder while attempting to negotiate a sweeping corner. Miller appears to have over-corrected, coming back onto the roadway, and crossing both lanes of travel. Miller left the roadway on the opposite shoulder and traveled about 100 feet before striking a tree. Miller was found deceased in the driver seat by a passerby who saw the van off the roadway.

Linn County Deputies were assisted by members of Lyons Fire Department, and the Linn County Road Department. The investigation is continuing.

Linn County Rescues a 16 year-old - 10/01/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports this morning, his search and rescue team rescued a 16-year-old female from Portland, from the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area near Marion Lake.

Last night at 8:27 p.m., the Marion County Sheriff's Office dispatch center received a phone call from a friend of the missing female reporting that the female was lost in the wilderness, and that the females parents did not know she had gone on a hike alone to Marion Lake.

At 8:35 p.m., the missing female called the Marion County dispatch center on her cell phone to report that she had taken a wrong turn on a trail, became lost and was not prepared for the weather.

The overnight temperature was near freezing, with rain and snow predicted above the 5500-foot elevation level. Marion Lake is located at 4300 feet in elevation. Linn County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team members responded to the Pine Ridge Trailhead leading to Marion Lake and located the female's vehicle.

Four team members hiked throughout the night, approximately seven miles into the Eight Lakes Basin area where they located the female today at 4:19 a.m. on the Blue Lake Trail approximately three miles south of Marion Lake.

Searchers remained with the female who was suffering from mild hypothermia, throughout the early morning hours, providing her first aid, food, liquids, and dry clothing. They built a warming fire to prepare her for the hike out after daybreak.

At 10:46 a.m., search and rescue team members, including members of the Linn County Sheriff's Office Mounted Posse, were able to escort the female to the Marion Lake Trailhead where she was later reunited with her mother.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon State Police.

Sheriff Bruce Riley Would Like to Remind Drivers of the New Distracted Driving Laws that are in Effect October 1, 2017 - 09/28/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that on October 1, the new distracted driving laws go into effect. This new law corrects some of the language that prohibited drivers from texting or making phone calls, but not from scrolling through social media sites or checking emails. The law also increases the penalties for cell-phone use.

There are some exceptions to the law:
* When using hands-free or built-in devices, if 18 years of age or older.
* Use of a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate the device or a function.
* While providing or summoning medical help and no one else is available to make the call.
* When parked safely, i.e., stopped at the side of the road or in a designated parking spot. It is NOT legal to use the device when stopped at a stop light, stop sign, in traffic, etc.
* Truck or bus drivers following the federal rules for CDL holders.
* Using a two-way radio: CB users, school bus drivers, utility truck drivers in the scope of employment.
* Ambulance or emergency vehicle operators in the scope of employment.
* Police, fire, EMS providers in the scope of employment, (can include when in a personal vehicle if, for example, when responding to an emergency call).
* HAM radio operators, age 18 years or older.

The law allows a driver to use their cell-phone with a hands-free accessory, as long as it allows the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel.

Through this law, the fines were also increased for repeat offenders. The first offense within a ten-year period, not contributing to a crash is a Class B violation...the minimum fine is $130.00. The second offense or if the use contributes to an accident is a Class A violation...the minimum fine being $220.00.

The significant increase in penalty comes on the third offense within ten years, which is now a Class B misdemeanor. This carries a minimum mandatory fine of $2,000, and the possibility of serving six months in jail.

The National Traffic Safety Administration shows that 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving in 2015 alone.

Sheriff Riley and his deputies are committed to the safety of all those driving through Linn County. He would like to remind drivers that the Linn County Sheriff's Office has a "no tolerance" policy for violating these laws and citations will be issued.