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Two die in Umatilla County crashes during holiday weekend

By

Hermiston Herald

Published on September 4, 2018 6:09PM

Alexander Ionita, 62, of Salem, died in a rollover wreck on Highway 395 in southern Umatilla County when his vehicle crashed into Camas Creek.

Photo contributed by Oregon State Police

Alexander Ionita, 62, of Salem, died in a rollover wreck on Highway 395 in southern Umatilla County when his vehicle crashed into Camas Creek.

A three-vehicle crash on Highway 11 near Milton-Freewater killed James Tincher of Walla Walla and injured five others on Sunday, Sept. 2.

Photo contributed by Oregon State Police

A three-vehicle crash on Highway 11 near Milton-Freewater killed James Tincher of Walla Walla and injured five others on Sunday, Sept. 2.


Two people died from crashes on state highways in Umatilla County during the Labor Day weekend. Oregon State Police on Tuesday identified the victims.

James Edward Tincher, 41, of Walla Walla, died in a head-on crash Sunday night north of Milton-Freewater. The multi-vehicle wreck also injured five, including two children.

Tincher was driving a 1998 Ford Mustang south on Highway 11 at a high speed, according to state police, and slammed into the back of a 1991 Ford Escort. The Mustang crossed into the northbound lanes and smashed into a 2002 Chevy Suburban.

Tincher died in the crash before emergency responders arrived, according to state police. The crash shut down the highway for about six hours.

State police reported Horacio J. Mendoza Castillo, 25, of Milton-Freewater, drove the Escort and had one passenger, a 24-year-old man also from Milton-Freewater. Jason Lee Morgan, 40, of Baker City, drove the Suburban. His wife, Kara Morgan, 36, and their two children, a 6-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl, were passengers.

Local ambulances took five victims from the crash to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla. The Morgan family via social media reported the hospital released them the night of the crash.

The second deadly crash occurred in the south end of Umatilla County.

A caller at about 2 p.m. Monday reported a pickup in a ditch off the northbound side of Highway 395 near milepost 53. State police reported troopers and emergency personnel responded and found a black 2016 Dodge Ram was heading north on a left turn and headed off the road, rolled down an embankment and landed in Camas Creek.

Alexander Ionita, 62, of Salem was the driver and lone occupant, state police reported. Ionita was wearing a seatbelt but died in the cab from injuries.



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