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Reports for Oregon State Police, Washington State Patrol and Bingen-White Salmon Police



On July 8, 2009 at approximately 5:45 a.m. a tanker truck pulling a tanker trailer was eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 38 negotiating a slight left curve approaching the bridge over McCord Creek.

The driver, Serafin Lara, 54, from Yakima, indicated the truck pulled to its right and struck a concrete barrier along the freeway shoulder. The vehicles continued eastbound as the tanker truck overturned onto its right side until coming to a stop on the east end of the bridge. The tanker trailer did not overturn but two axles separated from it.

Lara was using safety restraints and was not injured. He was driving for Granite Northwest Inc transporting approximately 67,000 lbs. of hot paving asphalt to Selah. The front overturned tanker was leaking after the crash.

His company is assisting ODOT and NRC Environmental Services with coordinating cleanup efforts.

Oregon State Police troopers, with the assistance of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, are investigating the crash.

Oregon State Police (OSP) detectives completed the death investigation following last week's discovery of the decomposed remains of an adult male in a brushy area east of Biggs Junction between I-84 and the railroad tracks.

Brush cutters for the railroad company reported the discovery Thursday at approximately 11:40 a.m. Investigators and OSP Crime Lab personnel responded to the scene.

According to OSP Sergeant Mitch Meyer of the Criminal Investigations Division, the victim was identified as James Merrel Sherman, 52. Sherman was believed to be transient and next of kin were notified this morning in Mississippi.

The investigation found nothing suspicious at the scene.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office determined the cause of death to be from undetermined natural causes.

Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of the Wasco County Medical Examiner, investigated the death of a 69-year old Coos Bay man found Thursday morning deceased in his motor home near the westbound lanes of I-84, west of Mosier.

The preliminary investigation indicates the man died of natural causes.

According to OSP Detective Lori Rosebraugh, on July 9, 2009, at 8:49 a.m. OSP troopers responded to a report of a motor home parked near milepost 68 in a wide turnout north of the freeway lanes since July 3.

The information also indicated that no one had been seen outside of it during the last 24-hours. After arriving on scene, troopers entered the motor home and found Norman Lester McTaggart, 69, from Coos Bay, Ore., deceased.

McTaggart was believed to be traveling alone.

Next of kin were notified.



One person was injured in a two-vehicle accident on July 12, 2009, at approximately 9:20 p.m. The accident occurred on State Route 97 at milepost 3, 10 miles south of Goldendale.

According to the report, Jerome C. Roach, 26, Camas, was driving his 2007 Toyota southbound on SR 97. Roach lost control of the vehicle rounding a corner. He collided with a northbound 2007 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Raymond D. Backes, 68, Centerville, in the northbound lane.

Neither Roach nor Backes were injured, however, Holly Backes, 43, a passenger in the Pontiac suffered chest, back and neck pain. She was transported to Klickitat Valley Hospital.

Roach was cited for DUI.



The Bingen-White Salmon Police Department was among the emergency responders to a bicycle accident on Bingen Hill on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 7. A bicyclist identified as Nicholas A. Burnett, 25, fell while going downhill at an apparently high rate of speed and suffered unidentified injuries. Burnett was transported to Skyline Hospital to be treated, but the story did not end there.

According to Bingen-White Salmon Police Department Police Chief Bruce Brending, there was an "interesting twist" to the bicycle accident story.

"Officer Steve Shields had responded to the accident scene," Brending explained. "A short while later, Shield was dispatched to a stolen bicycle report where a bike had been taken from in front of the White Salmon Community Library. The description fit the bike that had crashed at the bottom of Bingen Hill. Through investigation, the bike in the accident was identified as being the stolen bicycle, and Officer Shields went to Skyline and arrested the subject. The subject was reportedly staying at the Bingen School Inn, and he told Officer Shields he had just borrowed the bike and was planning on returning it."


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