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Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 26 west of Mitchell
02/23/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

A Mitchell-area man died Monday when his vehicle drove off the roadway on Highway 26 just west of Mitchell. The victim and his pickup were found by a citizen while police were searching for it after he was reported overdue by family members.
 
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Don Wagner, on February 22, 2010 at approximately 3:40 p.m. OSP received a report of a vehicle off the roadway, over a steep embankment and partially submerged in a creek on a rural portion of Highway 26 just west of Mitchell.
 
A 1997 Mazda pickup driven by GARY LEON WILLIAMS, age 46, from Mitchell, was eastbound on Highway 26 near milepost 65, when he failed to negotiate a curve leaving the roadway, traveling over a steep embankment and coming to rest partially submerged in a creek.
 
WILLIAMS was reported overdue by family members to Wheeler County Sheriffs Office after failing to return home as expected mid-morning Monday. The report prompted Sheriffs Office officials to start looking for WILLIAMS when a citizen's report led police to the crash scene just west of Mitchell.
 
WILLIAMS was found deceased at the scene.  He was wearing safety restraints at the time of the crash. The initial investigation suggests that neither speed nor alcohol appeared to be contributing factors in the crash.
 

OSP troopers from the Bend Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
 

Wheeler County Sheriff's Office and ODOT assisted at the scene. Highway 26 was partially closed to one lane for about two hours at the crash scene.