Annita S. Harmon, 40, of Weiser was found dead in the pickup truck driven by suspect Anthony Montwheeler, a prosecutor said.
And the couple in the vehicle that Montwheeler reportedly slammed into Monday morning are the subjects of a hugely successful GoFundMe campaign.
David Bates, 38, died at the scene of the crash, and his wife, Jessica, 35, was hospitalized with serious injuries. Malheur County District Attorney David Goldthorpe indicated Jessica Bates was in stable condition Tuesday. David Bates was driving a Ford Excursion when the fleeing Montwheeler crossed the center line and hit it head-on, Oregon State Police said.
The Bates family includes five children and lives in Vale, said friend Amanda McKinney, who launched a GoFundMe page to help the family. More than $33,000 had been donated by about 1 p.m. Tuesday, 24 hours after the fundraising campaign started.
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According to Washington County online court records, Anthony W. Montwheeler was divorced by Annita S. Harmon in 2015. The case is designated as a divorce with no minor children.
According to Oregon State Police, a witness called 911 from an Ontario convenience store about 6:50 a.m., reporting that a man was stabbing a woman in a pickup truck and was holding her against her will. Ontario police responded and the truck sped away, according to reports. Officer pursued Montwheeler through the city and onto Highway 201, where the southbound pickup crossed the center line and hit the Bates’ northbound SUV.
It was not clear Tuesday whether Harmon died from stab wounds or from injuries incurred in the crash. OSP and Goldthorpe said the cause of death is under investigation and awaiting autopsy results.
Montwheeler, 49, also was reported in stable condition Tuesday, Goldthorpe said, and he faces criminal charges. The case will go to a Malheur County grand jury, Goldthorpe said, declining to detail what charges he will seek.
McKinney said David and Jessica Bates both worked in medical imaging at Saint Alphonsus’ hospital in Ontario, McKinney said.
She described the couple as “very sweet, very kind people” who were admired by all who knew them. They have four sons and one daughter, she said.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447