Local Woman Dies in High-Speed Crash

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. — Family and friends are mourning the death of a young Springfield woman who died in a high-speed crash.

The crash happened around 9 p.m. Thursday night on River Road near Brown’s Landing.

There are still bits and pieces of the Ford Explorer all along the side of the road. Lane County sheriff’s deputies say its driver lost control. While the exact cause of the crash is still being investigated, neighbors weren’t surprised to hear that speed was a factor.

“I heard a siren go down the street and the next thing I heard was the choppers and I knew the last time I heard that, it was Life Flight and I figured it wasn’t pretty,” said resident Kim Sherman.

Deputies say 26-year-old Morgan Smither was speeding down River Road when she lost control of her SUV and slammed into a power pole, shearing it near the base. The Ford Explorer then rolled nearly 100 yards before stopping in the middle of the road.

Friday morning, while the sirens and flashing lights were gone, remnants of the tragedy remain–a scene neighbors are all too familiar with.

“This corner here has been in numerous accidents. I think this is the fourth accident we’ve seen here, and we’ve been here a little less than three years,” said resident Mike Campbell.

For many, the memories don’t fade over time.

“A little less than a year ago, I was actually the first one on scene and it’s almost in exactly in the same spot. It’s disturbing and nobody wants to deal with that,” Campbell said.

Neighbors say while it might not be the exact cause of every crash, speed is usually a factor. But when it comes to a solution, they’re not really sure if there is one.

“It seems to me I think more and more that people just don’t think about the circumstances of other people around here,” Sherman said.

They just hope it won’t take more tragedies like this for drivers to open their eyes.

“I just feel really bad for the people involved,” Campbell said.

“I just feel really sorry definitely for their lost. I can’t imagine what they’re going through,” Sherman said.

Lane County sheriff’s deputies said minutes before the crash, they got several calls about the same SUV speeding down this road. They are still investigating the exact cause of the crash, but they don’t think alcohol was involved.


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  1. Codex6681 says:

    I grew up out in that area of River Road and there has always been a problem from Hayes Lane down to Love Lake Rd with vehicle crashes. The corner on Browns Landing Isn’t really that sharp. But when your speeding at night it is really hard to see out there because it gets so dark. People seem to drive fast on that part of River Rd because they think they can get away with it and most of the time they can. Lane County Sherrifs need to patrol that area more. Just take the time and drive at a safe rate of speed. Your life is more important than your actuall destination.

  2. Caroline Paltz says:

    I have been living the nightmare that came from the crash one year ago on River Road come January 2, 2013. My youngest son, Blake Paltz 19 years old, was coming home from a weekend with his girlfriend and her mother when a selfish and careless man named Daniel W. Ball chose to get behind the wheel of his car while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. My son died that night and as the tears roll down my face I am reminded over and over like it was yesterday. Forever etched into my mind, body and sole are wounds that tear open like a gash that has been left untreated and cannot heal. My life has been forever altered by the choice of another, damaged and broken I just spent my first Christmas without my son in 19 years. My heart bleeds for this young woman and her family, no matter what the circumstances were of the accident. We are all just assuming when it comes down to why people do what they do. I am a teacher and I always taught my children as well as the young children in my care that you will always, and I mean always till the end of your days, need to make choices and with choices comes consequences so make them wisely. Sometimes, even when the intent wasn’t there, your choices could change other people’s lives forever!
    The man who killed my son that night made very poor choices and those choices resulted in the death of two people that night, my son and the man who chose to drink and drive. If your reading this please help and contribute to stopping these senseless acts of cruelty. You have a choice, make the right one!

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