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Willamina man struck and killed on Highway 18

Devin Lee Cavan graduated from Willamina High School in 2010

Sep 22, 2013 | 9 Comments

News-Register Staff

SHERIDAN — Devin Lee Cavan, 21, of Willamina was struck and killed by a passenger vehicle early Sunday morning on Highway 18 about three miles west of Sheridan in Polk County, according to the Oregon State Police.

Cavan, a 2010 Willamina High School graduate, was identified through fingerprints because he was carrying no identification. He was carrying a broken cell phone and a flyer for a mixed martial arts event held Saturday night at Willamina High. The event was a fundraiser for athletics at Willamina schools.

Lt. Eric Davenport of the OSP McMinnville office gave this account:

At about 2 a.m., the OSP Northern Command Dispatch Center was contacted by the Yamhill Communications Agency that it had received two reports of a man jumping out in front of traffic and acting erratically at milepost 30 - west of Harmony Road.

One of the reports indicated the man was throwing rocks at vehicles, and he had jumped on the hood of a vehicle and pounded on its door after it stopped.

No OSP troopers were on duty at the time of those reports.

About 20 minutes later, OSP dispatch was notified the man had been struck by a passenger vehicle in the area. Sheridan Fire District medical personnel responded and pronounced him dead.

Linda Coyle, 58, of McMinnville was driving the vehicle that struck the man. She remained at the scene, was not injured and is cooperating with the investigation, troopers said.

In addition to the OSP, the Yamhill and Polk County sheriff's offices, the Polk County District Attorney's office and Medical Examiner's office and the Oregon Department of Transportation also responded to the scene.

Highway 18 was closed for about two hours.

See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.

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08:54 am - Mon, September 23 2013
Missy said:
Too sad to leave so young. Some issues must have been hunting the young man.
07:02 pm - Mon, September 23 2013
dj said:
Interesting to see what the toxicological report concludes - -
06:40 am - Tue, September 24 2013
charles said:
I'm curious as to why there was no State Troopers on duty on a late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, when it's one of their busier times??? If someone had been available maybe this wouldn't have happened!!!
09:19 am - Tue, September 24 2013
Seabiscuit said:
The state feels that having 24/7 OSP coverage is not as important as the other "better", (excuse my sarcasm, and replace "better" with "higher priority") things it has to spend money on. If I recall correctly, it has been some time since a State Trooper has been on a regular duty shift after 2 A.M. It hasn't been too long ago that the voters in Oregon rejected getting OSP some extra money from the Lottery and the State Legislature threw them back into highway funds and cut their budget at the same time. The NR could probably do a follow up on this and be more accurate than my memory.

This is a tragedy. Toxicology not withstanding dj, the trauma, pain and suffering of the women who hit him as well as the family and friends that will suffer has to be taken into consideration.

There should have been LE on duty and available to respond between 2 and 3 A.M. If they were on duty, but busy on other assignments, that is one thing. To not have anyone on duty at all is entirely another.
04:40 pm - Tue, September 24 2013
dj said:
Seabis - In no way, shape or form was I overlooking the trauma and pain of the woman that hit Devin, or any of his family and friends.

Yes, I am still interested in the toxicology report - You think it's 'normal' behavior for that erratic behavior? There's actually a term they use - I'm not going to look it up now, but it's when you're driving on a curvy road, or at night, and kids will jump out in front of your car. He flew into her car like 'superman.' Went through the windshield - a pretty stupid thing to do and that woman will never forget that.

Know where your kids are, who they are hanging around with - just 'know your kids.'

Come on over and spend some time in one of the high schools - educate yourself with these young people. Volunteer at one of the youth rehab centers.

It didn't happen because OSP didn't get there, it happened because he was acting stupid.
06:28 pm - Tue, September 24 2013
Sandy said:
Thank you dj, Those are my thoughts but didn't know the right works to express them, and I agree.
07:40 pm - Tue, September 24 2013
dj said:
The term used is 'whishing.' Pretty popular on Red Prairie Road - I'd be very careful.
10:35 pm - Tue, September 24 2013
Seabiscuit said:
dj, I was simply pointing out that this goes a lot deeper than a toxicology report. Sure it would be interesting to know.

Charles was curious as to why no OSP troopers on duty, by extension, on a Saturday night/Sunday morning at bar closing time. From my recollection of events, I provided a simple explanation. I think Charles has a very valid point and had someone been able to intervene......................... You are right, it did not happen because OSP did not get there. It happened because, for what ever reason, a 21 year old man lost control of his ability to reason and use common sense.
09:57 am - Wed, September 25 2013
sbagwell said:
I think there are lots of good points to consider in this case. It certainly has many facets.
One note on the OSP facet:
McMinnville's office fields no troopers after 2 a.m. Sunday. And oddly, as Seabiscuit notes, that misses the bar-closing exodus.
However, a lone trooper patrolling such a vast area could easily be 50 miles away. Even at 100 miles an hour, which would be extremely hard to justify on a report of a pedestrian behaving oddly, it would take him half an hour.
What's more, any actual crime or emergency, even a single drunk driver leaving a bar, would take precedence over what amounts to a suspicious person report. So our lone trooper could not only be 50 miles away, but tied up there doing his sworn duty.
Yamhill County did have a deputy on duty, and did dispatch him. But by the time he got there, he was pressed into service performing CPR.
I don't think you can count on too much of a law enforcement presence in any rural county at 3 a.m., unless its New Year's Day.

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