Police identify victims killed in crash along Hwy 26 near Warm S - KPTV - FOX 12

Police identify victims killed in crash along Hwy 26 near Warm Springs

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Adam Clausen (left), Shannon Oleary Adam Clausen (left), Shannon Oleary
WARM SPRINGS, OR, (KPTV) -

Friends and neighbors of a Portland couple killed in a car crash on Highway 26 Monday afternoon say they were loving people and the best neighbors.

On Tuesday, Oregon State Police identified the three victims who were killed in a violent crash near Warm Springs Monday. Troopers said they responded to the scene near milepost 86 at about 4 p.m.

Preliminary investigations revealed a black 2007 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by 31-year-old Nathan Verhaeghe of Spokane, Washington, was traveling west when it rear-ended a 2006 Toyota Matrix.

The Matrix was then pushed into the eastbound lane and was hit by a white 2013 Chrysler van.

The driver of the Matrix, 37-year-old Adam Clausen of Portland, and his passenger, 39-year-old Shannon Oleary of Portland, were both pronounced dead at the scene. A third passenger, a 4-year-old child, suffered minor injuries.

"They were the sweetest couple and very sharp," said Marie Phillippi, Clausen and Oleary's neighbor. 

Phillippi says the three were always smiling. She says they she felt like they were more like family than neighbors.

"We watch out for each other here," Phillippi said. "They just fit in so easy, they were just smiles."

Neighbor Eva Marcotrigiano says they were polite and very careful. She says they had gone to central Oregon to spend Christmas with family.

"I expected to see them back and I hadn't yet and then my neighbor two doors down came and told me earlier, and I just can't believe it … I can't," Marcotrigiano said.

She says the two made their southeast Portland street feel more like a community.

"I have a ton of apples in the backyard and they would come and take the apples and make applesauce and bring me back some applesauce," Marcotrigiano said.

The driver of the Chrysler, 34-year-old Robert Burke of Reno, Nevada, also died at the scene. One passenger, 29-year-old Rachel Burke, suffered serious injuries. A 22-month-old passenger was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.

OSP said speed and other contributing factors caused the crash.

Highway 26 was closed for more than five hours while police investigated. 

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