Student crashes after allegedly doing 153 mph

A Corvallis college student was arrested Saturday morning after a Linn County Sheriff’s deputy clocked his car allegedly traveling at 153 mph on the Lost Prairie stretch of Highway 20 before it crashed in a ditch.

According to Sheriff Tim Mueller, Deputy John Trenary was traveling westbound on Highway 20 near mile post 68 in the long straight stretch by Lost Prairie at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, when he observed a silver 2006 Mazda MZ6 traveling eastbound at “a very high rate of speed,” Mueller said.

The Mazda had entered the straight stretch after the long, straight downhill area just before Lost Prairie.

Trenary recorded a reading of 153 mph on a radar gun, Mueller said. Trenary continued to track the vehicle, which slowed to 142 mph before he stopped taking speed readings, the Sheriff said.

He said Trenary’s cruiser physically shuddered when the Mazda sped past.

Trenary made a U-turn and radioed other deputies in the area that he was trying to catch the vehicle, then began to pursue the speeding Mazda. which rounded the first corner east of the straight stretch. Less than a minute later, as Trenary continued to attempt to catch up, he saw dark skid marks leading across the eastbound lane of Highway 20 and into the ditch adjacent to the northbound lane of Hackelman Creek Road.

“At the end of the skid marks was a very large cloud of dust indicating a vehicle had just crashed at that location,” Mueller said.

Trenary stopped near the dust cloud, which cleared enough to reveal the same silver Mazda which was facing southbound in the northbound ditch.

The deputy checked with the car’s two occupants, and confirmed that neither was injured as a result of the crash.

Mueller said Christopher Vaughn Gordy, 25, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; was driving.

Gordy’s girlfriend, Jessica Claire Hansen, 21, of Milton-Freewater was the passenger, Mueller said. Both are students at Oregon State University. The two were on their way to Bend to meet friends, Mueller said.

He said an investigation revealed that Gordy lost control as he attempted to turn down Hacklelman Creek Road in an attempt to elude Trenary after his radar detector went off.

Gordy was arrested and charged with attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, recklessly endangering, and violation of the basic speed rule, 153 mph in a 55 mph zone.

He was transported to the Linn County Jail where he was lodged on those charges. A records check revealed Gordy has an extensive history of traffic violation convictions, Mueller said.

He said the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Albany Police Department, was in the process of conducting a cooperative traffic saturation patrol of Highways 20, 22, and 126 due to a high volume of vehicles excessive speeding, passing in no-passing zones, and otherwise carelessly driving.

“The large volume of a wide variety of vehicles traveling on these highways, the curved nature of the highways, the surrounding trees and diverse wildlife in the area make this area especially hazardous for motorists when vehicles are being driving aggressively or carelessly,” Mueller said. “The Linn County Sheriff’s Office receives numerous calls of serious traffic crashes involving vehicles driving carelessly in this area. The goal of the saturation patrols is to reduce the occurrence of these serious motor vehicle crashes.”