The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead role in investigating the crash that took the life of a Hermiston teenager on New Year’s Day.
Brett Jewett, 16, a sophomore at Hermiston High School, was killed in a two-vehicle car crash on Jan. 1 along Highway 207 outside of Echo.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan confirmed Monday the identities of the drivers.
Brett’s sister Madison Jewett, 18, of Hermiston, was driving the 2007 Gray Ford Escape in which he was a passenger, and Rene Romero-Briseno, 60, of Heppner, was driving a 1999 Ford Expedition.
Madison Jewett was transported to Good Shepherd Hospital and released that night.
The sheriff’s office provided no other information, but a safety log entry from Jan. 2 referred to the crash as a “head-on collision.”
“I don’t know if I can provide anything more at this point. There’s a considerable amount of scientific data to gather to sort of put the pieces of the puzzle together. I’m hesitant to put anything else out at this time,” Rowan said.
He added that no citations have been issued and that the cause of the crash has yet to be determined because the investigation is ongoing.
Because the crash occurred on a state roadway, typically the Oregon State Police would take the reins in investigating. But law enforcement officials said that because Brett Jewett is the son of OSP Trooper Brian Jewett, the sheriff’s office has been named the lead agency instead.
Rowan said that the office is working in cooperation with OSP, and that two accident reconstruction teams are currently working to determine what may have caused the fatal crash.