Police arrest suspect in fatal crash

John C. Carlgren

Oregon State Police have arrested a man in connection with the car crash that killed three men and a woman early Sunday on Interstate 84 about 10 miles east of Pendleton.

The four people died in a crash after a pickup struck their car from behind, Oregon State Police said.

State police arrested the driver of the pickup, John C. Carlgren, 46, of Carlton, on accusations of manslaughter and drunk driving, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, an Oregon State Police spokesman.

Hastings said the preliminary investigation shows Carlgren was driving a 1999 Dodge Dakota westbound when he struck a 1991 Chevrolet Beretta from behind at about 12:19 a.m. near Milepost 219 on I-84.

Jessie Klien, 29, of Hermiston, was driving the Beretta, which had three passengers: Michelle Sawyer, 29, of Lynnwood, Wash.; William Johnson, 24, of Hermiston; and Fred A. Young Jr., 31, of Boardman. The car drove across the westbound lanes and stopped on the left shoulder, and the pickup ended up on the right shoulder.

Klien and his three passengers died at the scene. They had been returning from La Grande after participating in a young singles activity with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Umatilla Tribal Fire & Ambulance took Carlgren to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton, where he received medical treatment for minor injuries. State troopers arrested Carlgren following his release and lodged him in the Umatilla County Jail on four counts of second-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Carlgren has a $5,000 bail-bond for the DUII charge and a $200,000 bail-bond for the second-degree manslaughter charge, which is a Class B felony.

Authorities closed traffic to one lane for most of the night while investigators were at the crash scene, which they cleared about 8 this morning, Hastings said. State troopers are continuing the investigation along with the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Dean Gushwa said Carlgren should face an arraignment at 1:15 p.m. today. Gushwa also said he plans to present this case to a grand jury this week.

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