Two separate highway incidents during a Sunday thunderstorm resulted in one fatality due to a lighting strike and four people sent to area hospitals, according to Oregon State Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Bret Hemenway, 50, of Madras, died of electrocution when a tree under which he and his wife, Connie Hemenway, 49, had taken shelter around 4 p.m. was struck by lightning, according to the sheriff’s office. Medical personnel responded to Connie Hemenway around 4:25 p.m. She was treated at St. Charles Madras.
The pair were riding their motorcycles on U.S. Highway 97 when they took shelter around milepost 75 from a passing thunderstorm, according to the sheriff’s office.
At milepost 79 around the same time, a Dodge pickup driven by Nathan Hamlin, 20, of Prineville collided with a 1994 Chevrolet Corsia driven by Alejandro Magana, 39, of Moses Lake, Wash., who had slowed the car as traffic ahead slowed due to the passing thunderstorm, according to Oregon State Police. Hamlin’s truck slid off the highway and tipped onto its passenger side in a ditch.
The Chevrolet spun into the southbound lane and was struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Brian Meece, 63, of Bend.
Magana’s 8-year-old daughter was taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries. Magana and a passenger in Hamlin’s car, Stefane Hamlin, 23, were taken to St. Charles Madras.
Nathan Hamlin was cited by OSP For following too close.
Representatives from St. Charles Medical Center did not return calls regarding the condition of the patients.