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Trucker cited in Hwy. 97 crash S. of Chemult


A truck driver from Woodburn escaped injury but was cited by Oregon State Police on reckless driving and other charges after a Friday morning crash along Highway 97 five miles south of Chemult that allegedly involved alcohol and marijuana, and possibly driver fatigue.

According to Senior Trooper Joseph Smith, around 9:45 a.m., a 2003 Freightliner truck pulling a semi-trailer hauling nursery stock driven by Patrick LaFountain, 43, was heading south on the highway entering Beaver Marsh near milepost 209 in northern Klamath County.

The rig crossed the northbound lane and went into the bordering ditch, Smith said.The truck and semi-trailer continued nearly 400 feet down the roadside before crashing into several trees in front of three nearby homes..

Two witnesses heading north in a car were directly in the path of the oncoming truck but managed to avoid a head-on crash, Smith said.

They stopped their car and assisted the truck’s driver until medics arrived to check on him. LaFountain was using safety restraints and was unhurt.

The OSP’s investigation led to LaFountain being cited on charges of reckless driving and unlawful use/possession of marijuana and alcohol in a commercial motor vehicle. Troopers said “fatigue is one of the factors investigated as possibly contributing to the crash.

OSP was assisted at the scene by the Chemult Rural Fire Protection District & EMS and ODOT.

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