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Bend man drives on wheel without tire, crashes into La Pine storage units

Was bringing pickup to Bend dealer for sale; DCSO says he hit gas instead of brake

(Update: Adding video, that it was second, unrelated crash into building Thursday)

La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Bend man hired to drive a new pickup truck from Grants Pass to Bend for sale tried to reach a La Pine repair shop after a tire separated from its wheel on U.S. Highway 97 Thursday night, but crashed into storage units, officials said.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies were dispatched around 9:45 p.m. to the reported crash into a building at High Desert Self Storage on Pan Lane in La Pine, sheriff's Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said. A worker told 911 dispatchers a truck had driven into his employer's building.

Deputies found a 2019 Ford F-250 off the road, through a chain link fence and into a building of storage units, partially penetrating two of them, Vander Kamp said.

Deputies determined it was being driven by a 73-year-old Bend man, employed to drive the truck from Grants Pass to the Bend dealership, where it was to be sold the next day.

While on Highway 97, the right-front tire separated from the wheel. For unknown reasons, Vander Kamp said, the driver continued going "on the metal wheel for a substantial distance. This caused the front wheel to be ground down to the wheel studs."

When he got to La Pine, the driver tried to get to a repair store and lost control of the truck when he apparently hit the gas, rather than the brake.

There were no injuries, while damage to the metal-framed building was substantial and to the truck was moderate, the sergeant said. The storage units' contents were unknown, since it was unsafe to enter the building.

An investigation continues, but Vander Kamp said alcohol and/or drug impairment don't appear to be factors. Although no citations have been issued, reports have been sent to the DMV, recommending the driver have a driver's license re-examination.

It was the second, unrelated crash into a La Pine building in less than 12 hours. Earlier Thursday, an SUV crashed into the community's post office, also causing no injuries but damaging P.O. boxes in the lobby.

Accidents and Crashes / Central Oregon / La Pine

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. idk why he wouldn’t just call a tow truck or install the factory spare. a guy shouldn’t be transporting vehicles if he cant change a tire, he shouldn’t have a license to drive if he hasn’t got enough sense to get off the road and stop once he’s down to 3 tires

    1. I agree. It doesn’t sound like he was impaired, but his decision certainly
      goes against basic common sense. That had to be a rough ride and a little
      hard to steer.

    2. agreed.I’ve been in situations where I couldn’t stop right where I had the blowout, it happens. but you limp it to the next available place you can find to get off the road. that could’ve been a family he plowed into instead of a storage unit. in dryer months he could have started a 20 mile long wild fire

  2. being referred back to the DMV seems unusual, there must be more to the story, perhaps medical in nature. It seems an odd way to handle a tire coming off a rim. Yes logically, calling a tow truck would be less risky all the way around

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