Shuttle driver dies in accident
A shuttle driver, headed from the Warm Springs boat launch to the Trout Creek boat launch, died May 17, when he lost control of his vehicle on Northeast Juniper Lane, and overturned into an irrigation canal.
The driver, Kenneth Philips, 54, of Arlington, was part of a four-vehicle caravan of vehicles being shuttled by Affordable Deschutes Shuttle, of Maupin.
According to patrol Sgt. Ryan Grote, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, one of the first on the scene, the accident was reported around 12:15 p.m., and deputies arrived in 10-15 minutes.
"He was the third one in line, and basically, for some reason, he left the roadway, hit a power pole and went into the canal," Grote said, noting that there was not much water in the canal, so the vehicle wasn't submerged, but they needed assistance from the Jefferson County Fire Department to extract the driver.
The vehicle, a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup, was towing a boat trailer, which seemed to detach from the pickup, causing the accident.
"We believe it had something to do with the boat trailer coming loose, just from the marks on the road that we saw," said Grote, adding that the trailer was also missing a tire.
The pickup struck a power pole, on the south side of the road, just before the intersection with North Adams Drive, shearing off about a 3-foot section, which also ended up in the canal. The North Unit Irrigation District Canal runs parallel to South Adams.
While attempting to avoid the accident, the fourth vehicle in the group, a 2017 Toyota Tundra pickup operated by Tami Cameron, of Wamic, the owner of Affordable Deschutes Shuttle, also crashed.
"She swerved to miss the crash that was in front of her, and ended up taking out about 50 feet of fence, and hitting a large juniper tree," said Grote. The fence and tree were on the north side of Juniper Lane.
Cameron had minor injuries, and was checked out and released at the scene by Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, Grote said.
The four drivers had traveled in a van to the Warm Springs boat launch, on the Deschutes River, where they had collected three vehicles from clients. The drivers were traveling eastbound on Juniper Lane, toward Gateway, shuttling the vehicles to the Trout Creek boat launch, when the accidents occurred.
The drivers of the first two vehicles noticed the dust behind them, and turned back, Grote said.
The Sheriff's Office reported that both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, and neither drugs, nor alcohol were believed to be contributing factors in the crash.
As a safety precaution, the roads were closed at the intersection due to the damage to the power pole, which was leaning, but remained upright.
The Sheriff's Office, which was on the scene for at least two hours, did not have an estimate of the drivers' speeds. "We didn't have a reconstruction done on it," said Grote, pointing out that it was not a criminal case. "If it was criminal, we would have had a reconstruction done."
Assisting the Sheriff's Office at the scene were the Jefferson County Fire Department, Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, Oregon State Police, Madras Police Department and Jefferson County Public Works.