WESTFALL-A man visited his friend in Westfall in eastern Oregon on March 12 and saw his friend and another man died from being crushed to death by heavy machinery. According to an e-mail from spokesperson Aaron Corvin, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration participated in the investigation because the accident occurred on the construction site. The investigation may take up to three to four months.
At around 8:45 am on Friday morning, Marler County Sheriff Brian Wolfe responded to the call. He said that the caller stated that two people might be trapped under the track of the excavator.
The sheriff and deputy rushed to the scene, Vale Fire and Ambulance and Life Flight arrived at the same time, but the people were already dead, and it seemed that they were dead immediately.
According to Wolf, the 57-year-old Greg Quant of Burns is operating an excavator. He just finished some work for Roger Wheeler of Westfall, and he went down to the area to talk to him after the work was completed.
Wolfe said that when Quant was standing on the track, "Whether it was going out or coming back, that part was not clear. It looked like he hit the safety bar and the excavator was hooked up with gears."
According to the sheriff, when it started, it was in gear and fell to the ground. He said witnesses believed that when the machine hit them both, Wheeler jumped off to save Quant.
Wolf said that the heavy equipment was a John Deere 225D excavator, weighing 25 tons.
"This is a very, very unfortunate incident," Wolfe said. "Both of them are well-known in their respective communities. They are both good and hardworking people. They just do their job and it looks like they have made a mistake."
Wolf said that OSHA investigators came out of Bend that day.
The last time someone was killed in a heavy equipment accident in Malheur County was Vale’s Gary Kamo who died on April 22, 2020, when he was crushed using a crawler hoe while working on a property in Ontario. In that case, people thought that Kamo might "hit a lever" and accidentally started the machine.
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