Benton Co. Sheriff's Office
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Benton County Sheriff's Office is Investigating a DUII Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash (Photo) - 08/21/14
Deputies from the Benton County Sheriff's Office are continuing to investigate a two-vehicle fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred on Highway 20 at mile post eight, east of NW Scenic Drive in North Albany. The crash resulted in the death of one of the drivers and minor injuries to the other driver. There were no passengers in either vehicle. The surviving driver was arrested for multiple, serious charges.

At about 6:57 am on Thursday, August 21, 2014, Damon Selves, 32, from Corvallis, Oregon, was driving east on Highway 20 in a 1995 Acura Integra. Gabriel Ruiz Lopez, age 37, from Eugene, Oregon, was driving west on Highway 20 in a 1993 Ford Escort Wagon. According to witness statements and evidence on the roadway, the Acura Integra traveled into the westbound lane and tried to turn back into his lane. The Ford Escort tried to avoid the Acura Integra, but the vehicles collided head on and came to rest in the middle of Highway 20.

Damon Selves was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis by the Corvallis Fire Department with minor injuries. Gabriel Ruiz Lopez was extracted from his vehicle and pronounced deceased on the scene by medics. After an investigation by deputies, Damon Selves was arrested for the following charges: Manslaughter I, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Drugs), and Reckless Driving.

Damon Selves was not wearing a safety belt and airbags were deployed in the Acura Integra. Gabriel Ruiz Lopez was wearing a safety belt and the Ford Escort was not equipped with airbags. The Benton County Multi-Agency Collision Investigation Team was activated and investigated the scene. Firefighters and EMT's from the Albany Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation also assisted at the scene. Highway 20 was closed for about two and a half hours.

Deputies from the Benton County Sheriff's Office are continuing to investigate the crash and the Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who witnessed the crash or has any information to please contact Detective Sergeant David Peterson at 541-766-6820.
Benton County Sheriff's Office Investigates Fatal Crash, Highway 20 and Scenic, Albany - 08/21/14
This morning, Thursday 8/21/14 at 6:57 am, Deputies with the Benton County Sheriff's Office responded to a fatal head on collision on Highway 20, just north of Scenic Drive in Albany. A male driver of a Ford Station Wagon was traveling west bound on Highway 20 when it was stuck head on by a Acura that was eastbound. The male driver of the Ford was deceased at the scene. The male driver of the Acura was transported to Good Samaritan Regional hospital in Corvallis with non-life threatening injuries. No passengers were in either vehicle. Investigation is continuing as to causes and fault of the crash. Identification of the drivers will be released pending notification of the deceased family.

Highway 20 was closed for about 2.5 hours.

Oregon State Police, Albany Police, Corvallis Police, ODOT and Albany Fire responded to the scene and assisted Benton County Sheriff's with traffic control and Crash Investigation.
Benton County Sheriff's Office extends Citizen Academy Deadline - 08/18/14
The Benton County Sheriff's Office has extended the deadline for accepting applications for its Citizens' Academy. The new deadline is August 26, 2014. A few spaces still remain in this year's class and interested individuals are encouraged to apply.

The Citizen's Academy is a free program designed to give citizen participants an opportunity to learn more about the Sheriff's Office and its unique and diverse public safety functions. The Academy begins September 2nd and meets for ten sessions ending October 21st.

The class will meet each Tuesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on two Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. During the program, participants will learn about the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff's Office and gain insight into the challenges faced by Deputies. Most of the instructors are sworn Deputies who share their experiences with the class. The Saturday sessions provide a hands-on opportunity to learn about emergency vehicle operations, traffic stops, use of force and defensive tactics training.

During the program, participants are introduced to all divisions of the Sheriff's Office including the Law Enforcement Division, Emergency Services, Parole and Probation and the Jail.

Applications are available online at: or in person at the Law Enforcement Building, 180 NW 5th Street, Corvallis. For further information, contact the Benton County Sheriff's Office at 541-766-6858.

Stacy Mellem, Policy/Accreditation Specialist
Benton County Sheriff's Office
River hazard on North Santiam River cleared by Benton County Sheriff's Linn County SO, OSMB, and citizens. (Photo) - 08/15/14
On Monday, August 11, 2014, the Oregon State Marine Board, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Linn County Sheriff's Office, private contractor, and landowners worked together to clear a very dangerous log jam and hazard out of the North Santiam River, just above its confluence with the South Santiam River. This location is just outside of Jefferson, Oregon, and it is bordered by Marion and Linn Counties.

Both the Benton County Sheriff's Office and Linn County Sheriff's Office have responded to this location on numerous occasions for water rescues of boaters and people floating in the area on "pool toy" type floatation devices and inner tubes. There was many "near misses" this year at that dangerous location, but the logs and debris that has been causing this have been mostly, if not all removed. Many punctured rafts, pool toys, and inner tubes were removed with the logs, and rest of the obstruction. If you use or got through this part of the river, remember there may still be hazards underneath the water, and more may show up as water levels continue to drop.

Tips in how to stay safe while recreating on our lakes and rivers include; wear a life jacket, be prepared, stay hydrated, scout potentially dangerous water ahead by getting out and looking ahead or downstream. Don't bring young children or poor swimmers if you are not familiar with the river and you're not sure about the potential hazards. Oregon State Marine Board posts known hazards on their website, but keep in mind these can change overnight due water levels and other circumstances. Also be sure to have fire extinguisher or throwable floatation device if required. Carry a cell phone with you in a waterproof container if possible. Have a plan to pull out of the water before dark if not prepared for a night on the river and let someone know where you are going.
Benton County Sheriff's Office conducts DUII/Seatbelt Saturation Enforcement around Labor Day - 08/12/14
The Benton County Sheriff's Office, along with other regional law enforcement agencies, will be participating in extra DUII saturation patrol and enforcement surrounding the Labor Day weekend, August 15, through September 2, 2014. There will also be extra patrol and enforcement concerning seatbelt laws with an emphasis on child seats, texting and speeding between August 25 through September 7, 2014. This is to coincide with the nationwide "Click It or Ticket" mobilization promoted by USDOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Benton County Sheriff's Office already actively patrols for these crimes, and violations but this is extra enforcement added to target these offenses.

Driver impairment and speeding are the most common causes of injury crashes. Oregon's DUII enforcement program is committed to reducing the amount of crashes and impaired drivers on our roadways by keeping them off the roadway and arresting them when they choose to drive. For more info on impaired driving, visit

There were 997 child passengers under age eight injured or killed last year in Oregon motor vehicle crashes. Twelve of these children were confirmed to be riding totally unrestrained. Among four to eight year olds who by law should be riding in restraints designed for children, one in three was restrained with an adult belt system. Safety belts reduce fatality risk by 45 to 60%. Child car seats reduce the likelihood of infants under 1 year old being killed in a crash by 71 percent and the fatal risk for toddlers aged 1 to 4 by 54 percent, and 58 and 59 percent for infants and toddlers in SUVS, pickups and vans.

According to NHTSA, 3 out of 4 Children's Safety Seats are not used correctly. Oregon law requires children less than forty pounds be restrained in a child seat. Children under one year or weighing less than twenty pounds must be restrained in a rear-facing child seat. A child over forty pounds must be restrained in either a child seat or a booster seat appropriate for their size until they reach age eight or 4'9" tall and the adult belt system fits them correctly.

For help with child seats or additional information, refer to the seat manufacturer's instructions, vehicle owner's manual, local child seat fitting station, or call ACTS Oregon Child Safety Seat Resource Center at 877-793-2608. A list of fitting stations can be found at: or at
Albany Man Drowns in the Willamette River near the Crystal Lake Boat Ramp in Corvallis - 08/04/14
On Sunday, August 3, 2014, at about 5:53 pm, Benton County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a person who had gone underwater in the Willamette River and had did not return to the surface. The Corvallis Fire Department boat also responded. At about 7:24 pm, the body of Lee Roy Allen Dow, 24 years old, from Albany, Oregon, was recovered by divers from the Linn County Sheriff's Office and the Albany Fire Department. He had gone into the Willamette River at the Crystal Lake Boat Ramp on an inflatable inner tube. He was not wearing a personal floatation device. Witnesses said he slipped off the inner tube for an unknown reason, went into the river, and a short time later, went underwater and did not come back to the surface. He was located near the place where he was last seen going underwater.
The Benton County Sheriff's Office would like to remind the public that the rivers are a dangerous place to recreate. The public should always safely plan their trips, including wear personal floatation devices, sound producing devices, letting a third party know the duration and location of their trip, bringing a charged cell phone in a waterproof bag, etc.