DESCHUTES COUNTY, ORE. — A family’s eagerly anticipated journey to witness the annular eclipse turned devastatingly tragic on Hwy-97, near milepost 118. The accident happened Thursday, October 12, at 7:27 p.m.
According to Oregon State Police, Jesse Carl Ross, 43, of Corvallis, Montana, was driving his Silverado Truck northbound when it unexpectedly swerved into the southbound lane. Ross first sideswiped a Kenworth semi-truck driven by a California operator before the. colliding head-on with a Toyota Rav4 with a whole family inside.
The impact led to the Toyota, operated by Gary J Rutledge, 57, of Troutdale, catching fire almost instantly. State Police report Gary Rutledge and his family members — Michelle, 53; Kate, 15; and Ryan, 17 — tragically lost their lives at the scene of the crash.
“All fatal traffic crashes are tragic,” Oregon State Police said in a release. “When an entire family is lost, the tragic becomes the horrific.”
Ross was hospitalized following the crash with serious injuries. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.