HIGHWAY CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM

December 13, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

An icy, snowy Highway 82 claimed the life of an Imbler woman Wednesday evening and left another hospitalized.

Linda Rae Berry, 58, was killed when her 2001 Kia Sportage sport utility vehicle left the road south of Imbler, rolled and came to a stop upside down. It was the second fatal accident on Highway 82 in as many days.

Lt. Reg Madsen with the Oregon State Police said Berry was northbound nine miles north of La Grande when her vehicle crossed the southbound lane and left the pavement on the west side of the highway. Police said the vehicle rolled one or two times. The accident was reported at 7:18 p.m.

District Attorney Russ West said this morning that Berry was not wearing a lap and shoulder belt. She was partially ejected from the vehicle.

Berrys mother, Ruthie Nadine Bean, 77, of Imbler was a passenger in the vehicle. Bean was transported to Grande Ronde Hospital by ambulance. West wasnt certain whether Bean was wearing her safety belt.

A hospital spokeswoman said Bean was in stable condition this morning on the medical-surgical floor.

State police said that at the time of the accident, the highway had limited visibility and it was snowing on top of extremely icy conditions. The highway remained in extremely poor condition this morning with no travel recommended.

Berry was employed at Albertsons in La Grande and had formerly worked at the Imbler Corner Market.

The Oregon State Police is investigating the accident with assistance from the Union County Sheriffs Office.

The La Grande Rural and Imbler fire departments assisted at the scene.