Fog Contributes To The Death Of A Driver East Of Salem

SALEM, Ore–On December 20th, 2021, at shortly before 8:00 p.m., a 911 caller reported a vehicle had crashed into a pond near the intersection of Joseph Street SE and 71st Avenue SE, east of Salem. Before emergency services arrived at the crash, bystanders were able to help get the passenger out of the car. When deputies arrived the car was submerged, the driver did not survive. A bystander and deputies administered CPR to the passenger until medics arrived and transported them to a local hospital.

Investigators from the Marion County multi-agency Crash Team were called out to process the scene. Deputies determined the car, a 1999 Buick, was traveling east on Joseph Street in heavy fog prior to the crash. When reaching the T-intersection with 71st Avenue SE, the driver continued into the intersection, going through a fence and into the pond.  Investigators believe speed and foggy conditions were contributing factors to the crash. The driver of the Buick has been identified as Frank Kurbat (81) of Salem. The passenger, Peter Kurbat (45), of Aumsville, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

As winter officially begins today, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Team wants to share these driving safety tips for inclement weather:

  • Plan your route ahead of time and let others know when to expect you.
  • Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Turn on your low-beam head lights so you are more visible to other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern.
  • Avoid distractions such as using a cell phone while driving.

We were assisted by the Keizer Police Department, Salem Fire Department, and the Turner Fire District during this response.

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