Driver passes away in remote Umatilla County after train strikes semi-truck

ECHO, Ore. — A local driver passed away in a remote section of Umatilla County earlier this week after his semi-truck stopped in the middle of a railroad crossing while an oncoming train approached.

According to a press release issued by the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, deputies and troopers from the Oregon State Police responded to the area of Mud Springs Canyon Rd and Cunningham Rd on October 12, 2021 for reports of a semi-truck accident.

Once they arrived at the scene, local authorities deducted that two semi-trucks with doubled hauling hay were traveling alongside each other on Cunningham Rd toward Reith Rd. The two trucks approached a railroad crossing south of the Umatilla River on Cunningham and the first truck crossed with no problems.

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However, the second truck stopped with its cab on the railroad tracks while a westbound train approached. The train collided with the semi-truck, causing fatal injuries to the driver, who has since been identified as Lester Sickles, and severe damage to the truck. His family has since been notified, and the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office extended its deepest condolenses to Sickles’ loved ones.

They have since worked with the OSP to continue their investigation into why his vehicle stopped in the middle of the railroad crossing. Umatilla County deupties are working with an OSP crash reconstructionist to establish further details.

This is a developing news story. An update and/or follow-up will be issued once further details are revealed.

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