Jan. 10, 2018 — Traffic was stopped in both directions across the Siuslaw River Bridge Monday evening as emergency crews responded to the scene of a tragic motor vehicle accident that claimed the life of a young Florence woman.
At about 5:15 p.m., 28-year-old Heather Marie Sanford was reportedly walking in the southbound lane of Highway 101, just south of the bridge at milepost 191, when she was struck by a 2017 GMC Sierra truck driven by Arthur Brown, 70, of Florence.
Moments later, Tony Foglio was heading north just past Glenada Road when he looked to the left and saw Brown’s truck quickly pull off to the side of the road.
“There were papers flying down everywhere from the air, so I thought someone had lost a load of trash or something,” said Foglio, who then noticed a figure laying in the road and wearing a backpack, not far from his driver’s side door. “I realized the papers had probably come from the backpack.”
Seeing that another car had pulled up and that someone was presumably calling 9-1-1, Foglio positioned his truck to protect Sanford by blocking traffic.
“I felt for a pulse and didn’t find one,” he said.
Florence Police, along with members of Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance District, arrived shortly afterward, and were joined by Oregon State Police (OSP) Troopers from the Springfield Area Command and Florence Worksite.
“Our preliminary investigation has determined that Sanford was walking in the travel portion of the southbound lane of Highway 101 when she was struck,” said Sgt. Erik Fisher of the OSP’s Springfield command office, who oversaw the investigation. “Sanford suffered fatal injuries and was declared deceased at the scene by medical personnel.”
Sanford was wearing dark clothing at the time and had been reported by other passing motorists as a hazard immediately prior to the accident.
Sanford’s body was transported to RiverBend Hospital and is currently under examination by the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fisher said that Brown, who received no injuries and is cooperating with the investigation, is not suspected of any wrong doing.
Sanford, whose driver’s license listed her as a Eugene resident, was believed to be living in Florence with family and was the mother of four young children.
Highway 101 was reduced to one lane of traffic for approximately two hours while OSP Troopers conducted the investigation.
OSP was also assisted on scene by Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Incident Response.