Four people killed in fiery Clackamas County crash

Four people killed in fiery Clackamas County crash »Play Video
Deputies said the car hit a tree and caught fire. (KATU photo)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. -- After four people died in a fiery crash on Monday morning, the neighbor who rushed to help the victims says the county should have done more to warn drivers about the road.

"If you are out here, duck and cover," said Duane Mickelson, who pulled one of the victims out of the burning car before he died. "One of the problems is they don't have any speed limit signs on this road."

The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. near Southeast Hudson and Lusted roads, north of Sandy.

There is a yellow speed warning sign on top of the hill on Southeast Hudson Road, alerting drivers to slow down to 25 mph.

The road is steep, narrow and winding.

There are no lane markings.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday identified the driver as 31-year-old Brandon Lee Mayo. The three passengers were identified as 20-year-old Shalene Rene Newland, 20-year-old Jesse Jasso-Varsamas and 39-year-old Suzanne Marie Varsamas.

All four were from Portland.

Clackamas County traffic engineers say the road's speed limit is 55 mph and it does not have lane markings because it is too narrow and not heavily traveled enough, according to Warren Gadberry, the county's road operations supervisor.

There have been six crashes since 2002 with just as many injuries, but no deaths until now, said Gadberry.

Mickelson, who lives nearby, woke up to the sound of the crash and tried to save the passengers in the car.

"When I first heard it, I was asleep," he said. "I thought it was -- a tree fell over a power line."

Mickelson went outside and saw the crash. He called 911 and tried to help the people in the car.

"I couldn't get the front door open," Mickelson said. "I got the door on this side open, the driver's side, and he was loose. So I just pulled him out, laid him on the ground and ran around to the other side."

Mickelson said at that point the car was too hot for him to pull anyone else out.

"I figured those in the front didn't make it at all, and the only one making noise is the one I pulled out," said Mickelson.

Deputies said the passenger Mickelson pulled out was taken by LifeFlight to a hospital, where that person later died.

The three others in the car could not escape and died at the scene.

A small dog escaped the car after Mickelson opened a door, deputies said. The dog was later spotted near the crash scene. A deputy took the dog to a veterinary hospital for treatment for burns and other injuries.

The sheriff's office said deputies are using the dog's microchip in their effort to identify at least one of the crash victims.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.