Two Beaverton teens and recent high school graduates were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 211 north of Molalla Thursday afternoon.
According to Oregon State Police, the crash involved a Saturn Ion, driven by 18-year-old Tyler Bracken, of Beaverton, and a Ford F250 pickup truck driven by 53-year-old Molalla resident Craig Buche. Police say Bracken was traveling southbound at approximately 2:30 p.m., attempting to pass several vehicles on Highway 211 while navigating a blind corner.
When the teen saw Buche approaching in the oncoming lane, he veered to the right, overcorrected and lost control, according to police. The Saturn drove onto a soft shoulder and began sliding across both lanes of traffic. The Ford struck the car on its passenger side.
Bracken was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Oregon Health & Science University with life-threatening injuries. His passenger, Eric Santos, also 18 and from Beaverton, was pronounced dead at the scene. Buche was not injured.
Eric, better known as “E.J.,” was a 2019 graduate of Southridge High School in Beaverton, where he was a star running back and linebacker for the football team. In a post on the Southridge Facebook page, school officials mourned the loss.
“As a student he filled our halls with spirit, as a peer he was a friend to all, and as a person he approached each day with a smile. May his spirit, friendship, and smile carry us through these tough times.”
Sadly, Tyler Bracken was taken off life support Saturday and died later that day. According to an update posted to the family’s GoFundMe page, the trauma and swelling to his brain was too much.
The family hope that he will be an organ donor.
“Tyler now lives on as his brother, Eric’s, guardian angel (watch out world!),” Karla Wolf, an organizer of the family’s GoFundMe drive, said. “The family is still waiting for the final step — his organs to go to many recipients (including his very strong heart! It won’t stop beating. It will live on.)”
He was also a 2019 graduate of Southridge.
The collision occurred near the intersection of 211 and South Macksburg Road. The highway was closed for approximately four hours Thursday while police investigated. An OSP spokesman said Friday that speed and unlawful/unsafe passing are being looked at as possible factors in the crash.
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