A 65-year old Rockaway Beach man died Friday night following a single vehicle traffic crash on Highway 101 just south of Rockaway Beach. Preliminary investigation by Oregon State Police (OSP) indicates alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the cause of the crash.

On April 13, 2012 at approximately 6:40 p.m. a 1998 Chevrolet Corvette driven by Joseph Abeln, 65, from Rockaway Beach, was passing another vehicle at a high rate of speed when it lost control. The Corvette travelled across the highway and struck the hillside along the southbound shoulder before coming to a stop on the northbound shoulder.

Abeln, who was not using safety restraints, was ejected from the vehicle onto the fog line of the southbound lane. Tillamook Ambulance transported him to the Banks area where LifeFlight was standing by, but he reportedly died while enroute to the transfer point.

Trooper Mike Snodgrass is the lead investigator.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, Rockaway Beach Police Department, Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue, Garibaldi Fire Department, Tillamook Ambulance, and ODOT.

Traffic was diverted onto alternate roads as the highway was closed about two hours.