The estate of a Redmond woman killed in a 2020 vehicle pileup on U.S. Highway 97 south of Madras intends to sue state and county agencies, claiming they have maintained a deadly intersection.
Nadia Rankov Adams, 52, was killed on the afternoon of Aug. 18, when a semi trailer slammed into a line of vehicles traveling north on Highway 97. The line was waiting for a vehicle to turn left onto SW Bear Drive, according to Oregon State Police.
In March, a lawyer for Rankov Adams’ ex-husband, Ron Adams, sent a notice of intent to sue to officials with Jefferson County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
“My office is investigating the lack of action taken by the State of Oregon, which ... may have caused and/or contributed to Ms. Adams’ death by not making the intersection — which has been known for several accidents, including multiple fatalities — safer to the public,” wrote Jane Paulson, attorney with the Portland firm Paulson Coletti.
Under Oregon law, a public agency must be notified of a person’s intent to sue within 12 months of a cause of action.
A spokesman for ODOT referred questions to the department’s attorneys in the Department of Justice, who declined to comment.
An official with Jefferson County’s insurer, City County Insurance Services, appeared to disagree that the county should be involved with the lawsuit.
“It appears your letter has been misdirected,” City County senior claims consultant Kathi Prestwood wrote in response to the tort claim notice. “Accordingly, our Member is not liable in this matter and we respectfully deny your claim.”
The crash that killed Rankov Adams was the third fatal multi-vehicle collision on Highway 97 between Redmond and Madras in three weeks, the Redmond Spokesman reported.
The driver of the Volvo semitrailer that caused the collision, Inderjit Sign, of Yuba City, California, was not charged with a crime.
Rankov Adams lived in John Day before moving to Redmond. She had three children and worked as a merchandizer for the Opportunity Foundation’s Possibilities Thrift Store locations in Bend, Redmond and Madras. Relatives have said she regularly expressed misgivings about her commute to Madras. This included signing an online petition to create a safety corridor on the highway between Redmond and Madras.
A writer and musician, Rankov Adams’ family is raising money through GoFundMe to publish her two final books.