Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies are investigating a single vehicle, fatal motor vehicle crash reported today at 4:29 p.m. The crash occurred on Spicer Road near the intersection of Tallman Road, northwest of Lebanon.
The driver of a 2013 Ford Escape was identified as Virginia Simone Birky, 76, of Sweet Home. Ms. Birky was pronounced dead at the scene. The front-seat passenger was identified as Richard Fredrick Helvey, 68, of Bozman, Montana. Mr. Helvey was also pronounced dead at the scene. A third occupant who was seated in the rear passenger seat, was identified as Leona Halverson Helvey, 58, of Bozman, Montana. Leona is the spouse of Richard Helvey. She was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis with multiple injuries.
The investigation reveals Ms. Birky and her passengers were returning to Sweet Home from Albany. They were traveling east on Spicer Road. As she approached the intersection of Tallman Road, she failed to negotiate the sweeping right hand corner near the intersection. She drove straight through the corner, crossing through the opposing westbound lane of travel and onto the shoulder.
The driver’s side of the car was driven into the ditch and immediately struck a tree at windshield level. The roof of the vehicle was peeled back past the front half of the car and it appears that Ms. Birky, and the front passenger, Mr. Helvey, were both struck by the tree.
All passengers were wearing seatbelts and all air bags were deployed. It does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Linn County Deputies were assisted by members of the Lebanon Fire Department and Albany Fire Department. In addition, Linn County Multi Agency Investigation Team members from the Lebanon Police Department and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist with the processing of the scene.
AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home of Albany responded and removed the bodies from the scene of the crash.
The investigation is continuing.