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Speeding log truck wrecks, driver cited

Natalie St. John

Published on September 12, 2017 1:34PM

CATHLAMET — A Monday evening log truck rollover spilled logs all over State Route 4, destroyed a guardrail, closed the highway for hours and caused a power outage to some parts of Wahkiakum County.

Trucker Charles Williams, 69, of Terrebonne, Oregon, was about two-and-a-half miles east of Cathlamet on Sept. 11, when he lost control of his 1996 Freightliner truck and 1977 Peerless logging trailer. The wreck occurred in the eastbound lane near Abe Creek at just before 5 p.m.

“He was coming out of a set of S-curves, going downhill,” Washington State Patrol Sergeant Brad Moon said. “The log-truck was going too fast and started to lose it. He started to roll over, and took out a guardrail.”

According to a WSP collision memo, Williams’ truck rolled onto its side. As logs spilled across the road, they took out a nearby power pole, causing power lines to fall onto the road. No other vehicles or people were involved.

WSP troopers, local emergency medical personnel, Wahkiakum County PUD workers and sheriff’s deputies responded, Wahkiakum County Undersheriff Gary Howell said.

Williams suffered multiple serious but non-life threatening injuries, including facial fractures, Moon said. He was airlifted to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. His totaled rig was towed.

The road was fully blocked for about five hours, according to the report. One lane was blocked for an additional three hours. As of Tuesday morning, the guardrail had not yet been repaired, Moon said.

Howell said PUD workers removed the downed lines from the road, and rerouted power to minimize the extent of the power outage, but a limited number of customers were without power for several hours.

Williams was wearing his seatbelt. He was cited for speeding, and third-degree driving with a suspended license. According to Moon, Williams has a valid commercial drivers license in Oregon. However, his driving privileges in Washington are suspended, most likely because he failed to resolve a traffic infraction.


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