Man Killed in Single-Truck Crash

Date: December 14, 2009
Location: Highway 47 near Gaston, Oregon
Names: Alfred L. Spry

Oregon State Police reported in a press release that Alfred L. Spry, 62, of Gaston, Oregon, died December 14, 2009, after his truck went off the highway and into the side ditch around 11 PM.

The accident occurred during poor weather conditions. Oregon State Police said it was raining; The Oregonian said there was ice on the road.

Spry was driving a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup south on Highway 47, a little over a mile south of Gaston, when his truck traveled off the highway, continuing into the side ditch for around 250 feet. The truck rolled, coming to rest on the driver’s side.

Gaston Rural Fire District personnel extricated Spry. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

OSP did not know why the truck went off the road, but said neither speed nor alcohol appeared to be factors. Troopers from the McMinnville office were continuing to investigate.

Spry was not using a seat belt.

We send our wishes to Spry’s family after this unexplained tragedy. Please know we are thinking of you during this difficult time.

We also hope this convinces others to use their seat belts all the time. And even though many of the details are not known yet, we earnestly believe that the use of safety restraints in this situation could have saved a life.

As we move from the last days of December into the wet and wintry weather of January and February, remember these safe driving tips:

  • Be especially careful when it rains after a long dry period. That’s when the oil and grease builds up on the road, and the first rain releases it, creating slippery conditions.
  • Give yourself extra time to reach your destination, and drive at a slower pace than normal.
  • In snow or fog, drive with your low beams on. And keep headlights clean – dirty headlights can cut visibility in half.
  • Keep a good grip on the steering wheel. Do not make sudden turns; if you skid, correct your car using a light touch.
  • Increase following distance, then increase it some more. ODOT recommends at least three times the normal following distance in snow or ice.
  • Plan ahead for intersections.
  • If you find yourself skidding, ease your foot off the accelerator. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch. While keeping your foot off the brake, steer the same direction your car’s rear end is skidding.
  • If you hit a patch of ice, ease up on the accelerator and let your car “roll” through.
  • Remember that posted speed limits are meant for dry conditions, not rain, snow, sleet, or ice. Slow down during winter weather.

Did you know that single-car accidents are not always the driver’s fault? It can be caused by anything from weather, a wild animal crossing the road, to a city, county, or state agency not maintaining roads.