An 8-year-old Salem boy was killed Friday evening while attempting to cross River Road North on the 3900 block.
Just past 7 p.m. March 11, Keizer Police Department officers responded to a 9-1-1 report of an automobile versus pedestrian crash in the northbound lanes of River Road North.
When officers arrived on scene, they confirmed Jaren James Nash, 8, had been struck by a northbound 2006 Ford Explorer driven by 31-year-old William Andrew Wetzler of Salem.
Paramedics responded to the scene and took Nash to Salem Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Nash was then flown by Life Flight the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where he was pronounced as deceased shortly after arriving.
According to police, the preliminary investigation showed Nash was accompanied by his mother, Devon Rutherford of Keizer, while attempting to cross from west to east when he was hit in the northbound lanes. It was dark and the road was wet at the time of the incident. Wetzler stayed on scene and cooperated with authorities.
The portion of the road where the mother and son were crossing does not have a crosswalk. The Oregon State Police assisted the KPD with the crash scene reconstruction. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact KPD Sergeant Dan Kelley at 503-390-3713 ext. 3479.
Nash attended Schirle Elementary in Salem. Officials with the Salem-Keizer School District were notified.
After winning a hotly contested first round playoff game, the McNary High School boys varsity basketball team ran up against a wall with South Salem High School in the second round of the state tournament.
The Celtics edged Tualatin High School 44-43 Wednesday, March 2, to advance to the second round, but the Saxons shot out the lights from three-point range to win 71-58 Saturday, March 5, and earn the berth at the state tournament.
“I thought we had a good game plan, but South made more shots than us. Losing was difficult, but I’m proud of the way our guys competed and they lost with class,” said Ryan Kirch, McNary head coach.
In the South game, it was a back-and-forth battle for the first couple of minutes. The teams traded the lead six times before the Saxons went on an 11-0 run that included a trio of treys.
The Celts were able to staunch the bleeding as they settled into a rhythm. McNary dominated scoring in the last four minutes of the period, but were only able to close the gap to 23-16 by the buzzer.
McNary made the most of rebounds and a couple of steals in the second quarter to cut South lead to as little as four points. The teams went to the locker room with a score of 33-27, South still in the lead.
After the break, South spent the next eight minutes driving nails into the Celtic coffin. McNary scored only four goals in the third frame while the Saxons put up 19 points. The Celtic’s offense showed more life in the fourth frame, but it was too little too late, leading to the 71-58 final.
Kirch said he spent the weekend trying to figure out a defensive plan for a team that hit 12 of 15 three-point goals.
McNary’s path to South Salem led them through Tualatin three days prior. In that game, the lead passed back and forth throughout the first period, ending in a 14-14 tie to start the second frame.
The Celts were kept alive through the first 12 minutes of the game by three three-point goals by junior Adam Harvey.
“Adam really stepped up in the second half of the season giving us another offensive threat. Matthew (Ismay) did a great job of battling inside during the Tualatin game,” Kirch said.
Tualatin had a three-point lead going into the final two minutes of the half, but a steal and dunk by senior Harry Cavell put the score at 24-23. A bucket by Cade Goff gave McNary a one-point lead and Cavell sunk another shot and hit one from the foul line to put the score at 28-24 McNary going into halftime.
After three quarters, the game was still neck-and-neck with the Celtics up 36-35. Tualatin made a small 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Celt Easton Neitzel scored cut the Timberwolves lead to three points. Harvey put in the next shot to make the score 41-40.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Tualatin drained two shots from the foul line and got a third chance after McNary intentionally fouled to stop the clock.
Tualtin’s last shot missed and Cavell grabbed the rebound. He took the ball back up the court and hesitated a split second at the arc before driving to the rim and putting up the ball. It bobbled around the edges of the rim before falling true for the 44-43 final with 4.2 seconds remaining.
“Their whole game plan was to take Harry out of the game, but he was able to battle through it and we knew all along our plan was to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game and hope for a play,” Kirch said.
With the season over, Kirch said he’s excited about where the program goes from here after back-to-back 20-win seasons and three years running as the state champs in tems of academic achievement.
“Losing the player of the year (Cavell) and a three-year starter at point guard (Trent Van Cleave) is going to be something to deal with, but guys will have to step up in different roles,” Kirch said. “Our freshman class is very deep, the junior class is deep, the sophomore class has a handful that are very talented and the current players now expect to win no matter who they play or where they play or when they play. They’re instilling that in the younger players.”
For the graduating players, Kirch said he has high hopes for their futures on and off the court.
“I’m proud of them as people and I have no doubt these guys will be successful in their lives and as leaders wherever they go,” Kirch said.