OSP: Drunk driver kills woman in Easter morning crash

NORTH OF COTTAGE GROVE, Ore -- Oregon State Police said a woman is dead and another man is in jail after a crash Sunday on Highway 99 near Saginaw Road.

Police said at about 3 a.m. Sunday, a pickup truck crashed head-on into a passenger car.

According to police, the driver of the pickup, Jeremy C. Henry, 33, of Cottage Grove, was driving northbound on Highway 99 when he lost control, crossed into the other lane of traffic, and crashed into a Ford Focus.

The driver of the Focus, Teresa Marie Grondona, 40, of Cottage Grove, was taken to Sacred Heart at RiverBend where she was pronounced deceased.

"I never thought I'd have to bury one of my children," said Linda Flagg, Grondona's 64-year-old mother, at her home in Cottage Grove on Easter Sunday. "It's a very devastating pain that you just can't get over."

Officials say Henry was taken to Cottage Grove Community Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. Upon his release, troopers arrested him and took him to the Lane County Jail.

He was charged by OSP with second degree manslaughter, DUII and reckless driving.

Grondona's daughter, 19-year-old Tashina Carnes, said her mother was driving early Sunday morning to take an intoxicated friend home.

"All my mom was doing was helping somebody," said Carnes as she hugged her grandmother on the front porch, "like she always did."

"Now she's not here, and I got nobody but my grandma," added Carnes, tears now running down her cheeks. "That's all I got left."

Carnes said her father was also killed in a drunk driving accident years ago.

"Now I have to live my life with no parents because somebody didn't call someone," said Carnes.

"So, this person devastated this whole family," said Flagg, still holding her grandaughter. "Do not drink and drive. You have the choice to make. Make the right choice. Don't make the wrong choice, and make another family suffer like this."

OSP is continuing the investigation.

The highway was closed for about seven hours while the scene investigation took place, in which OSP was assisted by the Cottage Grove Police Department, ODOT and multiple fire and EMT crews.