Ice, shade and tragedy: Bend woman dies in Santiam Pass head-on crash

A 20-year-old Bend woman was killed Saturday and three other people were injured in a head-on collision on an icy stretch of Highway 20 near the Santiam Pass, Oregon State Police reported.

OSP dispatch in Salem received a report shortly before noon of a two-vehicle head-on by Lost Lake, said Sgt. Eric Brown of the State Police area command in Bend. A Bend OSP patrol officer working the pass arrived a short time later and reported that one driver was dead at the scene.

Ashley Nicole Baptista had been westbound in a gold Honda Civic, accompanied by passenger Lacy Lynn McBerney, 23, also of Bend, when she lost control of the car on the ice, Brown said. Her car slid into the eastbound lane and the driver’s side struck the front of a green Toyota pickup, driven by Brian Reick, 37, of West Linn, Ore., with passenger Katherine Reick, 32.

McBerney was flown by Air Life helicopter to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, where she was listed in fair condition Saturday night. The Reicks were treated for minor injuries and released, a nursing supervisor said.

The highway was shut on and off for about two hours during the medical transport, crash scene investigation and removal of the vehicle wreckage, the sergeant said. Linn County sheriff’s deputies, Forest Service law enforcement, Santiam Pass ODOT crews and the Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Department also were involved at the scene.

Brown reminded motorists not to “become complacent when traveling the mountain passes. It is still winter, and can easily be driving on dry pavement and then encounter ice on corners of the highway or in shaded areas.”

“Drive with the attitude that you will find ice around every corner,” the sergeant added.

Brown said the car was equipped with studded tires and that there was no indication of excessive speed.

“It’s a typical Santiam Pass” collision, he said. “Things are dry, and all of a sudden, you come around the corner and there’s ice and shade. The car had studs on it, but that section there was slick. But doggone it, it shouldn’t have happened. You can drive from Bend almost all the way to the top and get real complacent.”