SENECA – The lone occupant of a hay truck was found deceased after ranchers and emergency officials responded to the scene of a crash and fire Sept. 25 along County Road 63 on the Izee-Paulina Highway, approximately MP 15 near Snow Shoe Summit.
The driver of the semi-truck, Leon Bidwell, 59, of Terrebone was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The vehicle was a cab over semi truck and series of trailers pullig a load of alfalfa hay from the Vale area and was headed to the Spencer Ranch near Izee.
The investigation shows the loaded semi crested Snow Shoe Summit west bound and drifted to the right shoulder of the road and adjacent shoulder. Evidence at the scene showed a lack of braking or turning to avoid the crash. The vehicle collided with a large pine tree and a subsequent fire consumed the majority of the semi truck and hay.
A contingency of Bear Valley ranchers made an initial attack on the fire and kept the fire at less than one acre.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Oregon State Police, US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Dr. Hall, Grant County Road Department, John Day Fire Department and the Blue Mountain Hospital Ambulance from John Day and Seneca, as well as, numerous area ranchers and passerby who kept the fire from spreading.