By News-Register staff • 

Three killed in Wallace Road crash, including 4-year-old girl

Oregon State Police Photo##Three people were killed shortly before noon Monday in a two-vehicle crash south of Dayton on Wallace Road.
Oregon State Police Photo##Three people were killed shortly before noon Monday in a two-vehicle crash south of Dayton on Wallace Road.

DAYTON - Three people were killed in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning about nine miles south of Dayton on Wallace Road.

The Oregon State Police identified the victims as Susie Valdez, 69; Robert Joe Valdez, 70, both of Salem, and a 4-year-old unidentified girl, also from Salem.

That brings to six the number of people who have died on Yamhill County roads in recent weeks. Three people were killed in two separate crashes on Highway 18, just east of Sheridan, either near or in front of the Dairy Queen.

Troopers gave this account of the 11:50 a.m. crash:

Krista Marie Ann Ashley, 33, of Salem, was driving a 2004 Volkswagen Passat northbound when for unknown reasons she crossed the centerline and crashed into a 2019 Chevrolet Cruz driven by Susie Valdez. Robert Valdez was a passenger in the vehicle.

The couple were pronounced dead at the scene. A 4-year-old female passenger in Ashley's car was transported by ground ambulance to Salem Hospital where she died.

Ashley was transported by ground ambulance to Salem Hospital with serious injuries, as were Daniel Norris, 28, of Salem, and another unidentified 4-year-old girl.

A Life Flight helicopter was unable to respond to the scene because of weather conditions. Some of the victims had to be extricated from the vehicles in which they occupied. One of the vehicles reportedly caught fire, according to Yamhill Communications Agency radio traffic.

Wallace Road was closed for about 4 1/2 hours while the crash was investigated and the scene cleared. The investigation continues.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, Dayton Fire Department personnel and an Oregon Department of Transportation crew also responded to the scene.








Yet another driver crosses the centerline. I'm sure they don't know why this driver crossed over, but we have a real problem in this county with distracted drivers. I recently had a very serious "near miss" with a driver that crossed the centerline and came at me head on. I was able to veer into the shoulder to avoid being killed. I would be dead of that shoulder wasn't available as an option. So many drivers I pass along Westside Road, Hwy 47 and others are looking down at something when they pass me. Some are starting over the centerline and luckily correct themselves. When will this county do something about this epidemic? Many more people will die if nothing is done to address this.


Spot on comment, Mudstump. Couldn't agree more.
Today I was at the red light on 2nd street by the police station and the lady in front of me stayed put for a good 5 seconds even though the light had turned green. I could see in her side view mirror that she was looking down at something in her hands in her lap. The crazy thing? She looked like she was in her '80's. Crazy world we now live in.
I just shook my head and thought "being a cop would be tough and I'm glad I'm not one, but at a time like this it would sure be deep pleasure to be an undercover cop and flip on my lights and pull that lady over and give her a huge fine."


I drive McKay road daily, twice a day (yes, I know this is Wallace rd) I have more than once, had to take to the shoulder, let the idiot pass me head on in my lane. Driving past all those crosses on the side of the road SHOULD remind people, they aren't invincible. But they don't. :(


I was recently talking with a friend who is a Lake Oswego cop. They are using two techniques there to target distracted drivers - unmarked police cars and motorcycle cops. They use the unmarked cars because people put their phones down when the notice a cop car. They use the motorcycle cops to spot distracted drivers from hiding spots a police car couldn't fit. He said this is their highest priority, they don't care much about speeders and yellow/red light runners.


I once heard a guy speak who trains people on road safety and reminds his students that they are driving a 4000 lb missile. Only a couple of feet separate two of these missiles from colliding on country roads. My problem is that it should NOT be this easy for one person's moment of carelessness to end another person's life. I am not judging the drivers in this specific accident as I don't know any details. But as far as how often people are dying because a car crossed over center line in general, we are hearing about it all of the time! Most of the time it was carelessness and some people will continue to drive like fools no matter what you tell them. So, while I think it's great to try to convert careless drivers into careful ones through education campaigns, it's time to actually figure out how to protect people from those who will never be converted. Aren't there little bumps they can put into center line that at least alerts people that car is on center line? I've not researched ideas on this but have heard of a few ideas mentioned in passing. And don't even get me started on how dangerous it is having bicyclists on the roads like the one between Newberg and Carlton. I love bicycling but having a bike event that takes a bunch of bicyclists on narrow little country roads that 2 passing cars barely have enough room to share is just a fool's errand and more fatalities just waiting to happen.


I drive Wallace Road multiple times per week. What we need is more law enforcement to stop the aggressive driving and speeding. Commuters treat it like a freeway but it is only a two land country road. The road is used by school buses, farm equipment, and delivery trucks. Every time I drive the speed limit someone comes up behind me and then ends up passing me and multiple vehicles ahead of me. Parts of Wallace are curvy and has blind spots. This is not the locals who are driving aggressively it is people who think of the road as a path to Salem. It is a beautiful drive. Why not slow down and enjoy the scenery?


It seems to me that with all the advances in technology someone could come up with something that would block a cell phone from working while the engine of the car/truck is running. If the engine is off the cell phone would work. It seems like such a waste of taxpayer money to ask law enforcement to try and monitor all drivers for cell phone use...the problem is too big. It's so easy for someone to put the phone out of sight. We need something way more effective. People are being killed and injured on our roads. Something must be done.


People need to stop referring to crashes as “accidents” - including the media! “Accidents“ are unavoidable, ”Crashes” are caused by human behavior - speed, impairment, distraction etc.

Oregonian - the Lake Oswego police department may place a higher priority on distracted driving, but I’m sure they still also care about speed, red light running and other traffic violations.

Writeitdown - Oregon does use what’s called “rumble strips” on many of the state highways.

Drivers need to check their behavior. Unfortunately, most people know the limitations of law enforcement in Oregon and therefore aren’t afraid of consequences related to their driving behavior. Sadly, often times it’s the victims in the other vehicle, such as in this crash (and the 4 year old in the offending driver’ s vehicle), that pay the price.

Safe travels to all this holiday season.

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