At 2:20 p. m. on Jan 25, a chip truck loaded and heading for one of the valley mills, lost control rounding one of the sharper corners near the Gorge in Prospect and capsized into the oncoming lanes of traffic. According to Capt. Rick Mendenhall of Fire District #4 in Shady Cove, the F. V. Martin truck loaded with chips could not make the corner and tipped over, sliding some 60-75 yards. The driver was fortunate in that there was no oncoming traffic, and fortunate that the guard rail stopped the truck from careening down the mountainside into Lost Creek reservoir.
During the incident, the driver, who was not identified, never lost consciousness. He was pinned inside the vehicle while crews from Shady Cove and Prospect worked to remove him from the truck. According to Mendenhall, fire crews used a sawzall to cut away enough of the cab to remove the driver. While cutting, they carefully covered him to prevent any of the fiberglass fragments from entering his wounds, further complicating the picture.
Mendenhall said that the driver complained of rib, neck and back pain while being transported to medical care at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
The driver was wearing a seat belt and he told the state patrolman that the vehicle was traveling between 45 and 50 miles per hour. Though it had rained hard during the day, the road did not appear to have any excess or standing water.
Winter driving conditions this year have contributed to numerous accidents. The winter and hazardous driving conditions are far from over. Extreme caution is advised to help prevent accidents.