Second Fatal Crash Into Willamette River

For the second time this month a vehicle has crashed off Highway 20 and into the Willamette River near Corvallis.

The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. Monday. A witness called 911 and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash.

Multiple public safety agencies rushed to the scene in an attempt to locate survivors, including Benton County Marine Patrol, Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Corvallis Fire, Albany Fire, Corvallis Police and Oregon Department of Transportation. Highway 20 was closed for over three hours while the crash was investigated.

The vehicle was fully submerged but visible in the river.

Divers with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office were able to connect a tow cable and the car was pulled from the river.

The driver of the vehicle was the only occupant of the car and he was deceased.

The driver of the car, 77 year old Kenneth T. Leys of Albany, may have had a medical event as he traveled west on Highway 20 towards Corvallis.

Lays was driving a 2012 Red Chevy Cruze when it left Highway 20 at a high rate of speed, hitting a tree and then going into the Willamette River.

There is no indication of alcohol or drugs as being a factor in the crash.

The crash happened about a half mile from where Sue Durheim’s pickup crashed into the river earlier this month. She was killed in the crash. Investigators believe ice on the road may have been a factor in the crash.

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