By NR Staff • 

Yamhill woman killed in crash on Meadow Lake Road

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Capt. Svenson,
I don't know this woman or her family, but my heart goes out to them. This was a tragic sudden loss of a life.
To report to the newspaper that "alcohol is a possible factor" when you haven't confirmed it as fact is just gossip in poor taste at the expense of a grieving family.

I'm disappointed, you're usually a pretty classy newspaper you should edit out the gossip. It could have been any number of factors that caused an accident on a rural road.

Michael Tubbs Sr

"I'm disappointed, you're usually a pretty classy newspaper you should edit out the gossip."

I agree. Some things are best left unsaid until they're proven. 'Credibility' should not be a given, but sadly, too often is.

The editor must have had the day off.

Mark Langlois

To whom ever wrote the article.

You wrote the possible factors. Great work. You wrote exactly how you were trained.

Without a doubt, you ARE a classy newspaper and I'll continue to read your articles.

Keep up the good Work!!! You have my vote!!! Looking forward to reading more.

Michael Tubbs Sr

"You wrote the possible factors."

Adding she smelled of alcohol, or that alcoholic beverage containers had been noticed in her vehicle, would have been helpful in lending credibility to that particular statement made in the above article.

As far as voting goes, I'm with you on that portion of your statement , Mark Langlois, my subscription to the N-R is permanently set on auto-renew.

Maybe if whom ever had wrote this article was more like Lois Lane of the Dailey Planet, and had asked a few more questions, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. Any thoughts?


The NewsRegister isn't doing the "preliminery investigation" - it is the police or accident investigators so the NR is just reporting on what they indicated as possible factors, give them a break.

My heart goes out to the family and friends, may she rest in peace.

Mark Langlois

Zen you're exactly right. The police do the investigating not the Newsregister. Which brings me to my next point. Michael Tubbs, you're right as well. Maybe a little more about a possible container.... OR a police officer leaned over and told the writer what they found or they could smell alcohol on the driver but the writer can't say exactly what was told because the officer doesn't want to be mentioned in the paper. As history will be told... Most of the newsregister writers don't add things because they're bored. They've heard from someone and they just can't say whom! That is why writers use "The possible factors" kinda dumb but they're trying to get it all out.
Strange that nobody has spoken about her speed. I know that road very well and if you're going to fast you're doomed as well. By the way the car was described being almost torn apart... Speed was a certainty. Sounds like "The possible factors" are falling into place. Michael Tubbs... thoughts?

Michael Tubbs Sr

"By the way the car was described being torn apart... Speed was a certainty."

I agree, those are facts, and not speculation, Mark Langlois. As far as alcohol possibly being a factor there is no reason why the writer of this article would have had to disclose the name of his..or..her source of that particular piece of information.

The writer simply could have inquired as to the why..or..what would lead a person to feel such. beyond a gut feeling. That would be a simple question to ask.

Don't you agree?


I can tell you, they don't just come up with these ideas of what may have contributed. I think what's more important is that a family lost a loved one regardless

Mark Langlois

Michael Tubbs.. I agree 100% Very good point to the "As why or What" You're right again. The writer should have been a little more "Informational" especially with a death. Very sad about that. Very sorry to the family.


If you look at the article closely it says:

"Capt. Tim Svenson gave this account:

Blah, blah... blah, blah, went airborne.

The impact, blah blah blah, crash.

Preliminary investigation indicates Gilligan may have been blinded by the sun. Speed was a factor and alcohol a possible factor, Svenson said."

I read this to mean that Capt. Svenson gave this account to the News Register and NR decided to print it verbatim in it's entirety.

A citizen of our community was lost. We can speculate and say the sun blinded her, a deer jumped in the road, she got stung by a bee, or maybe she was a very sweet lady who didn't do anything wrong!

Other than herself there were no other victims. What do we gain by smearing her name now that she can't even defend herself. This is a time in our community when we should reach out with compassion to her loved ones not point fingers.
Even if alcohol was a factor why bring it up now? If it's because we want to hammer home some "don't drink and drive" agenda at the expense of a grieving family or if we're just that addicted to gossip God help us.

BTW... I'm still going to keep my subscription to the NR I'm just disappointed in the way this was


handled... Oops.

Jeb Bladine

First, we share in condolences expressed by others about a tragic death.

This is not meant to defend, only to explain, what is a standard news reporting practice that you could have read in dozens of News-Register articles over the years.

Law enforcement authorities, as a rule, issue a statement related to the likelihood of alcohol being a factor in serious accidents. We, as a rule, report that statement. There are four variations of that statement: "Wasn't a factor" ... "Doesn't appear to have been a factor" ... "May have been a factor" .... "Was a factor."

It is weeks and often months following any such accident before the justice system completes and releases information about alcohol testing. If an original story reports authorities as saying alcohol may been a factor, and test results later prove otherwise, we will report that information.

The underlying discussion concerns whether or not the involvement of alcohol in serious traffic accidents should be reported as news. And, if so, should the media report the professional opinion of law enforcement at time of the accidents, or should it report that information weeks or months after the accident?

Again, sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

Jeb Bladine

Michael Tubbs Sr

Maybe taking a 'wait and see' approach to reporting until 'it was determined' would be more helpful?


Why is it that when there is a detail that may be a little unsavory people jump all over the newspaper who reported it? Ever hear the saying "Don't shoot the messenger"? How about the messenger is not important?
A journalist is not smearing a person when they are simply reporting what information they hear, or information they feel may be pertaining to the article.
A sad car wreck- note I did not say accident, for that would be jumping the gun a bit without knowing the facts regarding alcohol. I am sure her friends and family will miss her, but I personally respect that the paper reports such things as possibilities. It reconfirms that we do not live in a safe community and that there are those out there that have no feeling or care that there are children, mothers, fathers, and other loved ones on the road. I take this knowledge with me when I get behind the wheel and attempt to maneuver my family to safety from one destination to the next. I also make sure I say my "I love you's" before I run an errand or see my other half off to work.
For every person who chooses to be intoxicated on the road, there's a family waiting for a tragedy to happen, and it won't be an accident, it will be a murder- an assassination.
I do hope she was not intoxicated, curious if the NR will follow up on that detail....

Michael Tubbs Sr

I'm not shooting the messenger, just sharing my opinion. Because 'things' have always been done a certain way, or, are an ingrained reporting model, doesn't necessarily mean that there's no room for improvement as to how news gets disseminated.

Just curious, Manup, has your man 'Cowboy'd Up' and popped the big question yet?


"Law enforcement authorities, as a rule, issue a statement related to the likelihood of alcohol being a factor in serious accidents. We, as a rule, report that statement".

The last four NR fatal accident articles that I found three out of four didn't mention alcohol.

August 11th 2012, Salem Motorcyclist Killed on HWY 22 : No mention of alcohol.
April 18th 2012, Newberg Woman Killed in Marion County Crash: No mention of alcohol.
April 9th 2012, Newberg High School Graduates Killed in Alaska Crash: Officers mentioned red eyes and smelling alcohol.
October 26th 2011, Two Planes Collide Near Champoeg State Park: No mention of alcohol.

I can't help but wonder if the... "professional opinion of law enforcement" would have been the same if it were Capt. Svenson's mother.

Jeb Bladine


I should have modified the earlier statement. It is local law enforcement authorities who most regularly report an assessment of alcohol involvement related to serious road crashes. Oregon State Police often do the same, but sometimes not. Other jurisdictions have their own policies.

The motorcycle accident you mentioned was handled by State Police; Marion County handled the April crash; the Alaska story was followed two days later by a long story detailing the related DUII arrest; sadly, the 2011 plane crash circumstances were such that no analysis of that issue was possible.

During that time span, many other N-R stories about serious crashes reported the law enforcement assessment of alcohol involvement. Going back more years, you will find the same with a majority of road accident stories.

Not trying to be argumentative, just to confirm the reporting policy. We respect the opinion of those who think authorities and the media should not report those law enforcement assessments at time of the accidents. In our experience, it has seemed preferable to a policy of reporting that information months later, and preferable to simply ignoring that information altogether.

Jeb Bladine


Thank you for asking Mr. Tubbs Sr, (wasn't specifically referring to only your comment, rather the rash of comments regarding this topic in this AND another story.)

And yes, he popped the question about three years ago- long engagement due to the necessity to complete school first. Do you ask because of my log in name, or something else? If it is due to my name, don't take it so literally, it is actually an old family nick name bestowed by my father- not said Man up, but rather all together as Manup- a play on my real name. Let's f people ask, or tend to seperate it when they see it, but I have had the name much longer than the slang became popular.

Michael Tubbs Sr

I was just curious, Manup. I've known for quite sometime that you're going to school in the field of medicine, and yes 'cowboy up' was a play on your username.

I wish you, your children and your future husband a happy and rewarding life. .


Thank you for your responses to my concerns. I never thought you were being argumentative and I hope you don't think I am either. You have brought to light a very interesting point, that is: It's LOCAL law enforcement policy to make a comment about alcohol in the event of a serious accident.

If our local police decide to most regularly comment on alcohol (whether it's a factor or not), maybe they could tastefully include a fifth statement variation: "Is UNKNOWN if alcohol is a factor". That way they have satisfied their need to mention alcohol but haven't implied guilt.

We all know the dangers of drunk driving and I'm sure our local law enforcement is trying to raise awareness by making these comments. Public awareness is a noble cause but this is poor timing to drive any agenda. It's an "end justifies the means" mentality that is at the expense of a grieving family. I read in the obituaries that this lady's son passed away last year. the family is going through enough right now they don't any additional burden.

I understand that you didn't actually commit to saying it's actual policy for our local law enforcement to comment this way but it sounds like it's a standard procedure. The nice thing about local policy (or standard procedure) is that we have the opportunity to change it. I'll let the sheriffs office know I feel and quit griping in the newspaper.

Again, thanks for your response and thanks for providing this forum.


If it helps, in 40 years of newspapering, I've never seen the police make a wrong call on one of these. In our experience, if authorities say alcohol "may have been involved," you can take it to the bank. They are very conservative in making that call.
Steve Bagwell, Managing Editor


Thanks Jeb,
As I said I would do, I e-mailed the sheriffs dept. addressed my point and attached this link. We'll see what they say.... I appreciate your responses and the opportunity the NR gives for providing this kind of forum. It allows members of our community to "blow off steam" and make their points. I believe the NR makes Yamhill Co. a better place to live.

I would like to say based on your responses and past performance I still think you're a classy newspaper!

Jon Hemstreet
Thomson Miill Road

Jeb Bladine

Thanks, Jon.

And by the way, thanks to others who use this forum to make their points, blow off a little steam at times, but maintain a higher and more respectful level of discussion than we see on many such newspaper websites.

Just to close the loop on those law enforcement reports, they do include -- and we report -- statements that alcohol was not involved in a particular crash.


Paul Daquilante

Hope Gilligan's blood alcohol content was 0.21 upon being admitted to OHSU following the crash.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the level, about 2.5 times the presumptive level of intoxication in Oregon of 0.08.

There will be a story in Saturday's print edition.

Paul Daquilante,

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