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Apr-12-2007 15:20printcomments

71-Year Old Stayton, Oregon Man Dies After Being Hit by Log Truck

Investigators believe that Mr. Christensen could not hear the backing truck because of the engine noise of a nearby piece of logging equipment.

death investigation
Salem-News.com

(STAYTON, Ore.) - A lifetime logging employee who spent over fifty years with the same company in Stayton died this morning when he was struck by a log truck that was backing up.

Investigators believe the man, 71-year old Vernon Christensen, did not see or hear the vehicle as it backed toward him in a noisy logging work area.

Marion County Deputies were called to an area about 3.5 miles up an unnamed logging road which runs off of Grade Rd NE about 5.5 miles up from where it intersect with Hwy 214, on a report that Vernon Christensen had died as a result of being hit by a backing log truck. A Sheriff's Office spokesman says Mr. Christensen was working as a flagger for Freres Logging in a remote area north of Silver Falls State Park when the tragic accident happened.

The road, a dirt and gravel logging road, is wide enough for one truck to pass at a time. Investigators say 58-year old Edwin Wallace of Stayton, also an employee of the company, was driving a truck up the hill on the road and had stopped to pick up another employee that had been operating a piece of logging equipment.

Mr. Wallace had to back the truck a short distance to the area where the other employee was waiting. Mr. Christensen was on the road but in the truck's blind spot. Mr. Wallace, believing that Mr. Christensen had returned to his nearby pickup, backed the truck, an unloaded 2006 Kenworth log truck, hitting Mr. Christensen causing crushing injures resulting in his death. Investigators believe that Mr. Christensen could not hear the backing truck because of the engine noise of a nearby piece of logging equipment. Drugs and Alcohol do not appear to have contributed to what investigators are calling a tragic accident. OSHA and the Oregon Department of Forestry are conducing their own safety investigations. Employees of the company say that Mr. Christensen had been an employee of the company for more than 50 years.




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