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Man Kills Himself Following Traffic Crash - Highway 197 south of Maupin
02/15/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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Oregon State Police troopers are continuing the investigation into the death of a Madras-area man after he shot himself following a Sunday afternoon traffic crash on Highway 197 about eleven miles south of Maupin. The deceased man had reportedly been involved in an argument with his girlfriend and was the subject of an attempt to locate out of the Madras area.
 
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Pat Shortt, on February 15, 2009 at approximately 3:15 p.m. a red 1992 Ford F150 pickup driven by LOUIS DONALD SMITH, age 24, from Madras, was northbound on Highway 197 near milepost 52 at a high rate of speed when he failed to negotiate a left curve and crossed into the southbound lane. A southbound Ford Explorer driven by RICHARD PAUL, age 39, from Redmond, Washington slowed as it moved toward the right shoulder. The Ford pickup crashed into the Explorer nearly head-on. After impact the Explorer came to a stop off the highway and the pickup came to a rest in the southbound lane.
 
RICHARD PAUL was able to get out of his vehicle and check on his wife, WENDY, age 40, and two boys, ages 7 and 4. All had minor injuries and were later transported by a relative to Redmond, Oregon. It is not known if they sought medical treatment later.
 
A man driving in the area stopped to help and approached the pickup to see if SMITH was injured. When the man got up to the pickup he noted there was a rifle inside and SMITH made a threatening comment to him, so he retreated away from the pickup.
 
About five minutes later before emergency responders arrived SMITH suffered a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced deceased by medical responders after they got to the scene. SMITH was in possession of a .264 Winchester Magnum rifle.
 
Sergeant Shortt noted that an attempt to locate was forwarded earlier to area law enforcement agencies from Madras Police Department regarding SMITH following an argument he had with his girlfriend during which he allegedly pointed a firearm at her. There was also a report to Wasco County 9-1-1 shortly before the crash of a possible DUII driver northbound in the area of Highway 197 / Highway 97 involving a pickup matching the description of SMITH's vehicle.
 
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation with the assistance of troopers from the Madras work site and Madras Police Department.
 
Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Maupin Ambulance, and ODOT assisted at the scene.
 
One southbound lane was closed during the investigation. The area was cleared by 6:45 p.m.