ATHENA — The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the early morning crash near the Umatilla Indian Reservation took the life of a 16-year-old boy.
Chuck Sams, communications director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, reported the tribal police department at 2:39 a.m. received a call from the Umatilla County dispatch center about a fatal car crash in a rural area of the county.
Umatilla Tribal Police and the Umatilla Tribal Fire Department located the red 1997 Ford Thunderbird off Wildhorse Road near Indian Grade Road. Sams stated tribal officers began an investigation and determined the crash was outside the reservation boundaries and the car’s three occupants were not American Indians.
The sheriff’s office responded as well as Oregon State Police, which conducted a crash reconstruction. Sams reported tribal police turned the case over to the sheriff’s office and the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office.
The car went over an embankment and struck a tree, according to the news release from the sheriff’s office. The crash ejected the 16-year-old, and he died at the scene.
The driver, Logan Foster, 18, of Weston, and a 15-year-old female passenger survived the crash. The Umatilla Tribal Fire Department ambulance took them to a landing area, where a LifeFlight emergency helicopter flew the girl to a local hospital, according to the sheriff’s office and the East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District, and a ground ambulance took Foster to an area hospital.
The sheriff’s office stated the crash appeared to be on reservation land and therefore tribal police had jurisdiction. Later, the sheriff’s office determined the crash was on county land.
The sheriff’s office also stated the investigation is ongoing. It did not provide the names of either teen nor the status of the survivors.