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Phantom Vehicle Sought in Fatal Rollover


Date: September 29, 2009
Location: Highway 26 and SW Dover Lane, Madras
Names: Richard Wayne Breese, Ronald Dale Calkins, Carol Calkins, Dottie Breese

(Photo: Oregon State Police)

The Oregon State Police have issued a press release requesting the public’s help in finding a “phantom” vehicle that played a role in an accident near Madras. A 74-year-old man died in the crash.

At about 5 PM on September 29, Ronald Dale Calkins, 70, of Pendleton, was driving east on Highway 26, approaching an intersection at SW Dover Lane near Madras, when he and an independent witness both saw a white vehicle enter the intersection. The vehicle was headed right for Calkins, who attempted to steer his 2001 Ford Explorer out of its path, but veered off the highway. The Explorer rolled at least once before coming to rest upside down by the side of the road.

One of Calkins’s passengers, Richard Wayne Breese, 74, of Pendleton, was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car. He died in an ambulance on the way to Mountain View Hospital.

Two other passengers, Carol Calkins, 77, and Dottie Breese, 74, were both using safety restraints. Both sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident and were also taken to Mountain View Hospital. Later, an air ambulance transported Carol Calkins to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

The mystery vehicle, possibly a white sport utility vehicle or a four-door sedan, is being sought by state police. Anyone with information that might assist in tracking down the vehicle, and its driver, is asked to call OSP’s Northern Command Center dispatch at 1-800-452-7888.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Calkinses and Breeses in this difficult time. It’s hard enough dealing with the loss of a loved one or good friend. It’s even harder to have questions in the back of your head: Who did this? Why did it happen? Some victims never get to learn the details that could help settle the mind, if not heal the heart. Even if a lawsuit isn’t filed, knowing what happened and who was involved can be the start to dealing with an accident.

If you crash because of a car that never touches you, it’s called a “phantom vehicle.”  Most insurance policies’ uninsured motorist coverage will only pay for these accidents if there was an independent witness to the phantom vehicle. We would like to make a plea to the person who was driving the vehicle to think about the people whose lives have been affected, and to come forward and take responsibility. And if anyone at all has any information about what occurred, please, come forward. The time is now.