- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The son of former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says his crash into a motor home last 4th of July was a desperately needed wake-up call.

Logan Kitzhaber, 19, of Portland pleaded guilty last month to assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants for causing the wreck on U.S. Highway 101 near the Oregon coast. As part of his plea agreement, he had to write a letter to the injured occupants of the motor home - Stan and Martha Lyckman of Port Angeles, Washington.

Kitzhaber, in a letter dated April 11, said he was a misguided teenager without any motivation at the time of the crash. He was addicted to popping pills and had no interests outside of drugs.

“This wreck was the culmination of my journey down a long, dark, emotional path laden with prescription pills,” he wrote. “On Independence Day I hit rock bottom.”

When he awoke in the hospital, he realized his life must change: “I truly believe that if I hadn’t crashed, I would have overdosed.”

State Police said Kitzhaber was driving to Lincoln City in a Toyota Prius registered to his father. The car crossed the centerline and then sideswiped the motorhome. Kitzhaber apologized to the Lyckmans, saying his poor choice has forever changed their lives. He promised to avoid intoxicants, pursue his education and never again recklessly endanger innocent people.

“Nobody deserves what I put you through,” he wrote.

Kitzhaber pleaded guilty and was sentenced March 27 to a week in jail and five years on probation. He was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and his license was suspended for five years.

The Lyckmans submitted a victim-impact statement to Lincoln County Circuit Court, letting Kitzhaber know how the crash upended their lives - emotionally, physically and financially.

“In the course of a few seconds, we went from being happy campers to being crippled,” Martha Lyckman wrote. “With no time to pray, we experienced horror.”

The letter says Stan Lyckman has endured six surgeries and nearly lost his leg. Moreover, he developed a severe blood clot that caused concern for his life.

Martha Lyckman, who retired four days before the crash, said her injuries are more emotional than physical: “Rattled to the core is the only way I can express the deeply penetrating trauma I have experienced.”

Kitzhaber’s father served three full terms as Oregon governor. He resigned early in his fourth term, in February 2015, amid an influence-peddling scandal.

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