Icy roads, deer cause driving problems

A Doug's Towing wrecker from John Day pulls a Ford Excursion out of a ditch along Highway 26 early Wednesday morning, Nov. 19. Driver Robert Beck of Vancouver, Wash., told police he swerved to avoid a deer which caused the vehicle to leave the roadway. Beck was not injured and no citations were issued. Contributed photo

JOHN DAY - Slick roads as a result of the first major snowfall of the year combined with the everyday Grant County hazard of wildlife running into the highway at the least expected moment, kept local police busy investigating a series of traffic accidents.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, Gladys Kathryn George, 65, and Billie Jean Mault, 59, both of John Day, received minor injuries as the result of a roll-over traffic accident on northbound Highway 395 near milepost 95.

George was driving a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup southbound on Highway 395 when the vehicle reportedly started to slide on the icy road surface, investigators from the Oregon State Police and the Grant County Sheriff's Department reported.

The vehicle then spun across the south and northbound lanes of travel before leaving the roadway. The truck then rolled onto its top and slid up against a steep earth side-slope, coming to rest on its left side facing north.

George and Mault were both wearing seatbelts and received only minor injuries, despite a large portion of the vehicle's cab being crushed by the impact of the crash.

Both subjects were transported to Blue Mountain Hospital by ambulance, where they were treated and released.

On Friday, Nov. 19, Vancouver, Wash., resident Robert James Beck escaped injury when a deer jumped in front of the 2000 Ford Excursion he was driving westbound on Highway 26 near milepost 157.

Beck, 54, swerved in an attempt to avoid the deer and subsequently lost control of his vehicle.

The Excursion struck the deer and then crossed over the centerline of the highway into the eastbound lane of travel and then spun back across the road into the westbound lane.

The vehicle then left the roadway and rolled onto its right side off the westbound embankment.

Beck was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident and sustained no injuries.

The vehicle was removed by Doug's Towing from John Day.

John Day residents Charles Robert Mills, 84, and his wife, Shirley, 78, sustained minor abrasions when the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Charles Mills ran off State Road 119 near milepost 114 at about 8:55 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Police report Mills apparently dozed off at the wheel while traveling northbound on State Road 119. The vehicle crossed the centerline into the southbound lane before leaving the roadway off the southbound road shoulder.

The vehicle reportedly struck one wire fence and two wooden fences before striking a tree, and came to rest facing north.

Both occupants in the vehicle were wearing seatbelts and were treated at the scene by emergency medical service personnel from the National Park Service and Blue Mountain Volunteer Ambulance personnel.

Doug's Towing from John Day removed the vehicle.

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