Two Sweet Home teens die in early-morning wreck on Highway 228

Two Sweet Home teens were killed and another was severely injured early Saturday, May 23, in a two-vehicle collision on Highway 228 near Milepost 10, in the Sunset Lane area, east of Brownsville.

According to the Oregon State Police, troopers and rescue personnel responded to the scene at approximately 12:15 a.m. According to the OSP, preliminary investigation revealed a Ford F-250 pickup, operated by Austyn Hillsman, 21, of Junction City, was eastbound on Hwy 228 when it crossed into the westbound lane and struck a Honda Pilot operated by Caleb Simonis, 19, of Sweet Home.

Simonis sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. A 16-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the Pilot, was transported by Life Flight to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A 15-year-old girl, also a passenger in the Pilot, was transported by ground ambulance with serious injuries, according to the OSP. Neither of the girls has been identified.

Hillsman, who did not sustain serious injuries, was charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence of intoxicants, and two counts of criminally negligent homicide and was lodged at the Linn County Jail. OSP was assisted at the scene by personnel from Brownsville Fire Department, Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District, Albany Fire Department, Life Flight, ODOT and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.