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Sweet Home man killed in Highway 20 collision
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Sweet Home man killed in Highway 20 collision

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A Sweet Home man died and two Albany residents were injured in a head-on collision on Highway 20 east of Lebanon Wednesday afternoon. 

The crash, which was reported shortly after 1 p.m. near the intersection of  Highway 20 and Fir Lane, involved a black Dodge Journey SUV and a silver Dodge Ram pickup towing a trailer. 

According to information from the Oregon State Police, Christopher Pritchard, 32, of Sweet Home was driving east in the SUV when he crossed into the westbound lane and collided with the pickup, which was being driven by Jose Maciel-Gomez, 22, of Albany.

Both vehicles came to rest in the westbound lanes of Highway 20.

Pritchard was pronounced dead at the scene, according to OSP.

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Maciel-Gomez and his passenger, Albany resident Jose Macial-Chavez, 54, were taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries. 

"I was sitting in my house (and) I heard a big explosion," said Denise Smith, who lives in a home east of the crash site. 

"There were already a couple of cars that had stopped. They were rendering aid," Smith said.

Smith said the good samaritans were assisting the driver of the pickup truck. "They were trying to get him to stay where he was," Smith said "but he got too anxious and crawled out the window himself."

Two hours after the crash, traffic on the four-lane roadway was funneled to two lanes as police began their investigation. 

Lebanon firefighters assisted Oregon State Police and Linn County Sheriff's Office personnel by using the jaws of life to extract the victim from the crumpled SUV more than two hours after the wreck occurred. 

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