Fatal accident north of Gold Beach

Fatal accident north of Gold Beach

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GOLD BEACH — On Feb. 17 at about 1:10 p.m., Curry County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue members Logan Couch and Corina Lea, while driving along U.S. Highway 101 near milepost 323 about four miles north of Gold Beach, spotted some tire tracks in the dirt on the east side of the highway.

According to a press release from Curry County Sheriff John Ward, Couch and Lea stopped to investigate and after looking over the embankment down into the trees noticed a red Ford Ranger pick-up with California plates. The truck was registered to 70-year-old Jerry VanHoosen of Kerman, Calif. VanHoosen was found deceased in the wreckage. Sheriff’s deputies and the Oregon State Police responded and determined that VanHoosen had been northbound in his truck on Highway 101 on Feb. 8 when it left the roadway, impacted a tree and came to rest in a ravine. VanHoosen likely died at the time of the crash from the sudden impact, the release stated.

The VanHoosen family had reported VanHoosen missing to the Brookings Police Department on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The family reported that VanHoosen had planned to travel to the Chetco River and fish, then onto Reedsport to meet up with a friend. The family said they had not heard from VanHoosen since Saturday, Feb. 8. The Brookings Police Department checked and found that VanHoosen had checked out of the Westward Motel in Brookings on Feb. 8. The Brookings Police listed VanHoosen as missing and had his phone pinged, which showed his last location on Feb. 8 before the phone was shut off somewhere in the Chetco River area.

The Curry County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team was called out to search the areas of cell pings and covered many miles for three days by vehicle and foot looking for possible locations where VanHoosen could be. Cal Ore Reach Life Flight assisted with the use of their helicopter as well.

"We are all saddened on the outcome of this search and our condolences go out to the VanHoosen family," Ward wrote.

Next of kin have been notified.

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