Sand-Rail Accident at Sand Lake Dunes Recreational Area

In September 2008 a sand-rail accident at Sand Lake Dunes Recreational Area near Tillamook, OR, left two dead and others seriously injured. A sand rail is a sort of dune buggy designed to go fast on sand. The accident was caused by David Rieman, who crashed his sand rail head-on into another sand rail, killing the other driver and a passenger and injuring the other two passengers. At the time of the accident, Rieman’s blood-alcohol content was 0.27 percent (the legal limit is .08 percent).

Rieman’s trial just finished in Tillamook County. He had been charged with criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault, and driving under the influence. The District Attorney’s office had requested a sentence of more than 5 years, but judge Rick Roll sentenced Rieman to 2.5 years in prison. Roll’s decision was influenced by witness testimony regarding Rieman and his character, as well as feedback from the victims. In addition, Rieman has expressed extreme remorse and made concerted efforts to financially compensate the victims and their families.

It’s commendable that Rieman has accepted responsibility for his actions, but it’s unfortunate that lives had to be lost and so much suffering caused. It is never a good idea to drink and operate any sort of motorized, or even unmotorized, vehicle. Be safe out there!