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INDEPENDENCE DAY FREE OF MAJOR ROAD WRECKS

By SUSAN SCHELL

Curry County steered clear of traffic mishaps this Fourth of July.

There were no major accidents in Brookings, and the Curry County Sheriff's Department said it was fairly quiet - most calls pertained to illegal fireworks.

The lack of activity was in stark contrast to last weekend, when traffic accidents kept police, fire crews and tow truck drivers busy Sunday afternoon.

Heston Collis, a driver for AAA Les Brown towing, stood in the middle of the auto wrecking yard on Museum Road Monday morning, pointing to three wrecked cars he had towed in the day before.

andquot;North Bank, South Bank, Winchuck,andquot; he said as he pointed to three separate vehicles. andquot;It was crazy,andquot; he said. andquot;All these calls came within minutes of each other.andquot;

A four-car pile-up along Highway 101 near Winchuck Road, a fender-bender near Social Security Bar on the North Bank of the Chetco River, and a fatal crash on the South Bank kept Collis rushing from one accident scene to the next.

andquot;As soon as I would get one car hooked up, a call would come in for another one,andquot; he said.

andquot;He didn't get home until after 7 p.m.,andquot; said Collis' wife, Jessica.

The Harbor Fire Department confirmed Sunday's calamity.

andquot;We were extremely busy,andquot; said firefighter Butch Clary. andquot;We had three accidents within a 20-minute time span.andquot;

One of those accidents claimed the life of 16-year-old Steve Morris and landed 16-year-old Travis Humphrey in the intensive care unit at a Portland hospital.

Morris was driving his Acura up the South Bank when he apparently lost control of the vehicle. The car veered off the road, shot out over the embankment and wrapped around a tree. Morris was killed on impact.

Humphrey had to be extracted from the vehicle by the fire department, using the Jaws of Life.

andquot;The Jaws of Life did an exemplary job,andquot; Clary said. andquot;We have some very well trained individuals.andquot;

Funeral services for Morris were Friday.

Humphrey was reportedly still in a coma Friday struggling for his life. He has not regained consciousness since the accident.

13554305
The Curry Coastal Pilot
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Thursday September 29, 2016

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