(KOIN) – A 54-year-old woman who had been on the run since being indicted on manslaughter and drunken driving charges in connection with a fatal Interstate 5 crash north of Albany more than 16-years-ago has been captured, thanks to a conversation heard in a bar.
Oregon State Police (OSP) report that in April, Jean Terese Keating was caught and arrested in Manitoba, Canada, where she was living under an assumed name. On Thursday, Keating was extradited back to Oregon and lodged in the Linn County Jail.
On April 13, 1997, a then 38-year-old Keating, who resided in Milwaukie, Ore., was traveling north on I-5 when she caused a chain-reaction crash. Keating sideswiped another vehicle driven by 65-year-old Jewel Oline Anderson of Dexter. Anderson's car crossed the center-median and crashed into a third vehicle. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene, OSP said.
Keating and the driver of the third vehicle were not hurt.
In June 1997, a grand jury indicted Keating on charges of first-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person.
In March of 1998, while awaiting trial, Keating disappeared. According to OSP, her lawyer reportedly told authorities he lost contact with her and feared she had "flown the coup." A bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
For several years, investigators followed dead-end tips that yielded no results as to her whereabouts. However, early this year, police in Manitoba contacted OSP with information that they may have found Keating. They said that a woman in a Manitoba bar was bragging about how she had gotten away with a drunken driving crash in the United States several years ago.
A constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the small town of Minnedosa, Manitoba, learned of the rumor that a local woman known as "Jean McPherson" was actually an American citizen who had entered Canada illegally.
The constable contacted investigators with the RCMP Red River Integrated Border Enforcement Team, who found no record of a Canadian citizen under the name Jean McPherson. They also learned that "Jean McPherson" had multiple arrests in Canada, including one for drunken driving.
Canadian police got McPherson's fingerprints, and then compared them to Keating's in the U.S. database. After getting a positive match, Keating was taken into custody on April 8, 2013, by the Canadian Immigration Division. On April 18, a deportation order was issued.
On June 13, Keating was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in North Dakota.
Keating was scheduled to be arraigned in Linn County Circuit Court Friday.
Anderson's family released the following statement through OSP:
"While there is no price to be put on repayment for taking a life, and it certainly won't bring Jewel back, we are thankful that finally after 16 years of her running, hiding and torment, our families will have some closure; knowing that Teresa Jean Keating is in custody and justice will be served.
"In the past 16 years we have felt hurt, betrayed, confused and most of all a void in our lives. We have missed her not getting to be at all our happy occasions like graduations, weddings, births, birthdays and many more.
"Jewel was the sweetest woman anyone has ever known; a mother, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a stranger to no one and loved holidays, family gatherings like picnics and reunions and traveling. Her home was home to anyone, and she would help anyone that needed down to her last dime or the shirt off her back. Above all, she loved her family and God.
"One single action can have a tremendous impact. What happened on April 13, 1997 was a truly devastating event; not only for our family but for the people in the second vehicle involved in the accident, and I'm sure Teresa's family as well. However to call this an accident would be an outright lie - the act of getting behind the wheel of that car by Teresa Jean Keating was very much intentional. Where she was going, what she was thinking - all that is irrelevant - too drunk to drive, is too drunk to drive. All of our families have suffered a tremendous loss."
-- Faris Tanyos
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