On Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at about 4:49 p.m., the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to a two vehicle head on collision in the 13000 block of Buena Vista Road, Independence. It was discovered that Mr. Daniel Chico Hernandez, 37 year old resident of Monmouth Oregon, was killed when an oncoming vehicle crossed into his lane of travel and struck his vehicle. The other motorist was identified as Mr. Kester Harry of Albany Oregon, who was transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis and was then transported to the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, due to the extent of his injuries. There were no other occupants in either vehicle. The investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the Oregon State Police, Polk County District Attorney's Office and Medical Examiner's Office.
Polk County Sheriff's Office -- From August 22nd through September 4th Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with law enforcement Officers throughout Oregon will participate in the national Click It or Ticket traffic enforcement "blitz" in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use and education. This enforcement period comes ahead of the Labor Day weekend, which is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. According to AAA more than 35.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more on the Labor Day weekend. During the "blitz" law enforcement agencies will also be working to educate parents about the importance of proper child seat and safety belt use during the statewide traffic enforcement "blitz."
The Click it or Ticket Campaign wants to bring awareness to some of the most vulnerable passengers by recognizing National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is September 18th through the 24th. During this time many communities will have Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to provide education on how to use child car seats and booster seats. Locally, the Salem Hospital has a Child Car Seat Inspection Station, which is held every fourth Saturday of the month from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. The next inspection date is August 27th. For other local Child Car Seat Inspection Stations and additional information regarding Child Passengers visit www.safercar.gov.
According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause nationwide of death for children ages one through twelve years old. Child seats may increase crash survival by 71% for infants under one year old and by up to 59% for toddlers aged one to four. Booster seats may reduce the chance of nonfatal injury among four to eight year olds by 45% compared to safety belts used alone. NHTSA observations of state safety belt use in 2015 revealed that Oregon's safety belt use rate is 95.5%, which is the 3rd highest ranking in the country trailing California and Georgia at 97.3%.
Oregon law requires children weighing under forty pounds to use a child seat with harness. Children under one year of weighing less than twenty pounds must ride in a rear-facing child seat. A child over forty pounds must either a child seat or booster until they reach age eight or 4'9" tall and the adult belt fits them correctly. If you are unsure whether your chgild is ready to transition to an adult belt system, use the east five-step test here: www.carseat.org/Booster/630.htm.
During the upcoming Labor Day weekend thousands of people will travel through Polk County. The Polk County Sheriff's Office is committed to ensuring the safety of everyone by enforcement and education through the Click It or Ticket campaign. One of the most important safety measures individuals can take is to not only buckle up themselves, but ensure child passengers are safely secured in the vehicle.
For more information on the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
On 8-11-2016 at about 7:40 a.m. a courthouse staff member found a suspicious bag left on the front steps of the historic courthouse in Polk County. The Sheriff's Office was notified and the bag was investigated. No one in the courts claimed the bag, so at about 8:00 a.m. the courthouse was closed and evacuated. The Salem Police Department Bomb Squad was requested to assist and they responded in less than an hour. They were able to scan the bag and then a bomb tech cleared it. The courthouse was re-opened at about 10:18 a.m.
**UPDATE** On 08/04/16 the wheelchair was located on the property and will be turned over to the owner. A suspect has been identified and the investigation is ongoing with charges pending.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's assistance in locating a stolen electric wheelchair. The wheelchair was stolen on 08/03/16 from a disabled veteran in the Falls City area. The wheel chair was donated to the Veteran to help him be able to regain some of his mobility that he lost from an injury while he was in the Army. Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Hutchison at the Polk County Sheriff's Office (503) 623-9251 and reference case number DAS16-1396.