Thursday afternoon at about 3:50PM the Lincoln City Police Department responded to a vehicle crash in the 5000 block of south Hwy 101 in the Taft area. A grey 2003 Volkswagen Jetta was northbound on Hwy 101 when it drove onto the sidewalk along the east side of the highway. The vehicle struck a street lamp breaking it off at the base then careened north on the side walk and glanced off of the front of the Family of Promise day care center. There were children and adults in the day care center at the time of the crash. There were no reported injuries.
After striking the building the vehicle continued north along the sidewalk area until it struck a fire hydrant near the Ace Hardware building. The impact broke the hydrant from the water main causing a significant uncontrolled flow of water into the ground beneath the sidewalk at that location. The water initially flooded Hwy 101across both north-bound lanes from just north of South 51st street to South 48th street. The flow of water threatened buildings along this area and forced traffic to detour onto side streets. Some residents in the affected building were asked to evacuate until safety assessments could be made.
The driver of the Volkswagen, Jared Dunmire, age 28, of Toledo, Oregon was the lone occupant of the vehicle. Dunmire was checked by Pacific West medical staff at the scene and released with minor injuries. Dunmire was taken into custody at the scene by LCPD Sergeant Weaver and transported to the Lincoln City Police Department where he was cited and released. Dunmire has been cited for Reckless Driving, three counts of Recklessly Endangering, Driving While Suspended Violation, and Driving Uninsured. It was learned during the investigation that Dunmire had been cited for Driving While Suspended earlier in the day by Newport PD. Dunmire did not appear to be under the influence of intoxicants. Distracted driving is being considered as contributing to the crash.
Lincoln City Public Works responded to shut off the water and make repairs. The rushing water eroded the ground beneath the sidewalk and between the buildings at the scene, flooding onto Fleet Street before the flow could be stemmed. North bound lanes of Hwy 101 were closed to detours for several hours. Lincoln City Public Works assisted by local utility companies and Oregon Department of Transportation personnel worked to make repairs and the roadway was reopened to one lane of traffic northbound overnight. Hwy 101 was fully reopened by about 8:00am Thursday morning.
LCPD was assisted at the scene of the crash by North Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Lincoln City Public Works, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Oregon State Police, and ODOT.
The Lincoln City Police are grateful for the quick response and assistance of the partner agencies and to the witnesses who came forward at the scene. If anyone has additional information regarding this crash they are asked to contact Sgt. Randy Weaver at 541-994-3636.