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Drunk Driving Crash Kills Motorcyclist

Date: May 30, 2010
Location: Highway 30 near Astoria, Oregon
Names: Andrew Stuart Church, Kenneth Eugene Middleton

A man driving drunk, with his 13-year-old daughter in the car, was jailed following a fatal crash over the Memorial Day weekend on Highway 30 east of Astoria, Oregon. The crash killed Rainier-area motorcyclist Andrew Stuart Church, state police reported in a press release.

On May 30, 2010, around 6:10 PM, a pickup driven by Kenneth Eugene Middleton, 44, of Southeast Portland, was driving east on the highway near milepost 94 when it crossed the double solid yellow center lines on a blind curve and crashed almost head-on with a motorcycle driven by Andrew Stuart Church, 35, of Rainier.

Church was thrown from the motorcycle and landed in a nearby field. The pickup continued, dragging the motorcycle, until it came to a stop alongside the highway.

Church was not carrying identification, but police later identified him through a photograph sent electronically to investigators at the scene. He was wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Middleton and his 13-year-old daughter were unhurt. They were using safety restraints.

Middleton was arrested and taken to Clatsop County Jail on the following charges:

  • Manslaughter in the First Degree
  • DUII
  • Reckless Driving
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person

Oregon State Troopers are continuing to investigate the fatal Oregon motorcycle crash, which came during a holiday weekend that historically has the highest number of drunk-driving deaths of all major annual holidays in Oregon. During the last 40 years, over 250 people have lost their lives in Oregon traffic crashes in the Memorial Day holiday period. Since 1985, 54 percent of the deaths have involved drunk driving.

We send our thoughts and prayers to Church’s family in their time of grief. There is no excuse for drunk-driving accidents, and we can’t help feeling outraged at this senseless loss.

We encourage people to educate themselves on the law of drunk driving in Oregon, and we offer information on our website, including this video. Please learn all you can. But when a drunk driver is involved, the law becomes very tricky, and you may want to contact an experienced Portland injury attorney.