Police: Father charged for DUII crash with son in passenger seat

SISTERS, Ore. -- A Bandon man is accused of driving drunk and crashing his SUV down an embankment at the Santiam Pass Junction Saturday morning. He and his 5-year-old son were taken from the crash scene to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, state police said.

The Oregon State Police received a call at around 5 a.m. Saturday from a driver who came across a crash at the junction of Highway 126 and Highway 20 near Sisters, Ore.

Emergency crews reported arriving at the Santiam Pass Junction to find a Ford Explorer had crashed down an embankment, landing on lava rocks alongside the roadway.

Paramedics took the driver, Jeremy Ward, 31 of Bandon, and his 5-year-old son to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend for treatment of serious injuries, police said. They are both expected to survive.

Crash investigators found that Ward was driving east when he went off the roadway somewhere between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m.. The SUV launched off of a gravel berm, flew 25 yards down an embankment and landed on lava rocks, OSP investigators reported.

Officials say that both Ward and his son were not wearing their seat belts during the crash.

The Coos County Sheriff's Office reported getting a call the night before from the child's mother, saying she was concerned for her son's safety. The mother claimed Ward had been drinking before leaving his home in Bandon with their son.

Ward was cited by state police to appear in Linn County Circuit Court on several charges, including DUII, third degree assault, driving on a suspended license and failure to seat belt a child passenger.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Black Butte Police Department, Sisters -Camp Sherman Fire District, and Black Butte Fire Department.