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Fatal Traffic Crash - Highway 58 west of Oakridge
03/04/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation after identifying the driver and vehicle believed to be involved in Thursday morning's fatal traffic crash on Highway 58 west of Oakridge. A Sparks, Nevada man died in the crash when his commercial truck collided with several large bales of hay that fell off a semi-trailer traveling in the opposite direction about seven miles west of Oakridge.
 
According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant Andy Kenyon, on March 4, 2010 at approximately 5:25 a.m. a commercial truck driven by GREGORY RALPH MULLER, age 37, from Sparks, Nevada was eastbound on Highway 58 near milepost 27. While negotiating a sharp curve, MULLER was passing a truck pulling two trailers loaded with bales of hay coming westbound. Several bales of hay weighing about 1,000 lbs. each fell off the lead trailer and struck the truck driven by MULLER, demolishing the cab in which he was in.
 
The truck pulling the trailer from which the hay came off did not stop and was last observed westbound. The vehicle and driver were located later that day. Information indicates this truck was a white commercial truck hauling two trailers of oversize bales of hay. A witness stated the hay fell from the front of the load on the lead trailer.  The other driver was identified as BONNIE PUCKETT, age 41, from Christmas Valley, Oregon.  He has not been charged related to this ongoing investigation.
 
MULLER was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was driving for Sherwin Williams Company transporting clothes and furniture. His vehicles came to rest in a ditch along the eastbound side of the highway.
 
OSP troopers from Springfield and Oakridge responded to the scene along with ODOT, and Dexter and Oakridge Fire and EMS.
 
Highway 58 was closed approximately 4.5 hours while troopers investigated. ODOT cleared several bales of hay from the roadway.