Family of pedestrian in deadly crash says changes needed on Old Highway 30

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 9:52 PM PST
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KNAPPA, Ore. (KPTV) - Friends and family of 25-year-old Hannah Jean Olson of Astoria, who was hit and killed while crossing an intersection on Old Highway 30 near Mile Marker 82 in Knappa, are mourning her Thursday night.

All the while, some are also expressing frustration with the intersection where it happened, saying they’ve seen it time and time again claiming someone’s life.

Crystal Schroeder, whose boyfriend is the victim’s cousin, says the death of the 25-year-old comes soon after the loss of her mother and father, and leaves her 17-year-old sister fending for herself.

“I’m devastated,” Schroeder said. “She was very close to my heart. I had just seen her the day before.”

Due to a medical issue, Schroeder says Hannah was unable to drive. Which means, she walked a lot.

“She was crossing the street,” she explained, at an intersection she had crossed many times. Meanwhile, Schroeder was having dinner at the Logger restaurant, where Hannah worked, just steps away.

“I had someone come inside and say it was Hannah.” Rushing out the door, she glanced at the intersection, and laying on the street she said she “saw her.”

Friday night, family and friends released balloons and laid down flowers in remembrance of Hannah. Some blaming the intersection, described by many as dangerous.

Schroeder, looking out towards the intersection, noted “there’s no skid marks on that road.” She calls that a telling sign that the driver of the vehicle, who police described as co-operative, likely didn’t see her coming on the 50 mile-per-hour road.

“People drive through here at 65, 70 miles per hour,” Schroeder said. “I work at the courthouse, and I see the tickets.”

Eugene Gruhlke, whose kids were involved in an accident at the same intersection recently, says “we all live here. There’s lots of kids here now.”

People who gathered at the restaurant Friday night said at the intersection it’s far too common. Sadly, Gruhlke says “it probably will happen again, and it has happened before. This isn’t the first time.”

Schroeder and Gruhlke would both like to see a change.

“Slow the speed limit down,” Schroeder said. Or maybe implement “a roundabout, or a cross light. There’s not lights here. People can’t see when they’re crossing at night.”

Gruhlke added, “it can’t go on like this, where it just gets quiet in the community and then we’re right back to where we started. Which is nothing,” he explained peering out towards Old HWY 30. “We have a blinking light.”

Regarding her loved one, Schroeder said, “I just want everyone to know that she had such a beautiful heart.” Through tears she proclaimed, “I love you, Hannah.”

The Logger restaurant was closed Friday night while they mourned the loss of their friend, co-worker and loved one, Hannah Jean Olson.