Two people were killed Wednesday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash about seven miles north of Monroe, the Benton County Sheriff's Office said.

The highway was closed in both directions, but it reopened at about 7:30 p.m., some four hours after the wreck occurred.

Benton County Undersheriff Greg Ridler said a Jeep Cherokee, headed north on the highway, apparently crossed the center line and crashed into a southbound Saturn four-door vehicle. Ridler said early indications are that the Jeep was engaged in an unsafe passing maneuver and added that drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.

Two people in the Saturn were killed, Ridler said. A third person in the Saturn and the driver of the Jeep were transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, and both are expected to survive.

The accident occurred at about 3 p.m. at the intersection with Finley Road.

A detour was set up at the north end at Highway 99 West and Greenberry Road and on the south end at Dawson Road. 

Authorities did not identify the victims in the crash on Wednesday night, pending notification of next of kin.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock.