Oregon police didn't link crash report to missing travelers
For nearly two weeks, Oregon police agencies didn't link reports of a red compact car driving off a highway June 8 and two Californians...
The Associated Press
PORTLAND — For nearly two weeks, Oregon police agencies didn't link reports of a red compact car driving off a highway June 8 and two Californians reported missing in a red Toyota — despite a 911 call from a man who saw the accident and pinpointed its location.
The Rev. David Schwartz and Cheryl Gibbs were reported missing June 18 after failing to return to California as scheduled, but nobody matched up one report involving a red car with the other, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman for the Oregon State Police.
The wrecked car was found Sunday in thick brush about 20 feet off Highway 26 in the Coast Range. Schwartz and Gibbs' bodies were found inside. Police said it appeared that Schwartz, 52, a Jesuit priest from Orange County, and Gibbs, 61, of Alameda, Calif., had been traveling east toward Portland when they veered off the road and rolled once or twice.
The wreckage was found off the same stretch of highway where a 911 caller reported seeing a red compact car veer off the road on June 8.
"We feel badly that the red car was not found June 8, but it was not for a lack of effort," Hastings said.
But some relatives are upset that police failed to link the missing people with the accident report.
"It is very sad and very poor police work," said the priest's brother, Glen Schwartz, of Walnut Creek, Calif.
Hastings said it wasn't until after the car was recovered Sunday that authorities realized the 911 caller had seen the accident that killed the two Californians.
He said a wildlife officer who was among those who checked out the 911 report on June 8 called state police on Sunday after hearing that the couple's car had been found.
He said the police are interviewing those involved in the search.
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