Sheriff's vehicle

A Pacific County Sheriff’s Office vehicle sustained minor damage when a deputy drove off U.S. Highway 101.

SOUTH BEND — Rookie Pacific County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Logan Macomber crashed while on duty twice in eight months in 2020 for the same reason.

Both times he was found to have been at fault, including after being counseled by a senior deputy about his driving.

First incident

According to public records obtained by the Chinook Observer, on Apr. 8, 2020, Macomber was heading westbound on Butte Creek Road towards U.S. Highway 101 north of Raymond and was involved in a single-vehicle accident. In his statement about the incident, Macomber stated that he was looking at his MDC (patrol vehicle laptop) and realized he was approaching the stop sign at a high rate of speed.

“I proceeded to slam on the brakes and veered to the southside of Butte Creek Road in the grass area to avoid any potential collision,” Macomber wrote. “As I was continuing forward in the vehicle, I went into the first ditch on the [southbound] side of US 101.”

During the crash, Macomber went through the entire shoulder of the northbound lane of US 101 and crossed approximately three lanes of traffic before crashing into the southbound ditch on the other side of the roadway. His patrol vehicle sustained minor damage to the front end.

He admitted in the report that he was conducting work-related business on his patrol vehicle laptop while driving at the same time. He was not injured in the collision, and a few passersby assisted him in getting his patrol vehicle out of the ditch.

PCSO Deputy Jesse Eastham was the first law enforcement officer on the scene and began the investigation. He took several photos that showed Macomber’s path through the northbound ditch, where he struck the southbound ditch, and the damage to his patrol vehicle.

The photos also slowed lengthy skid marks before he entered the northbound shoulder, which suggests Macomber was traveling well above the marked 35 mph speed limit on the roadway.

At fault

PCSO Sgt. Randy Wiegardt completed the department report for the collision. Macomber was found to have violated several rules, including unsafe equipment operation, unsafe position, and inattention to the task.

“I have counseled deputy Macomber about driving too fast and distracted driving,” Wiegardt wrote. “Deputy Macomber was instructed to sign up for a distracted driving for law enforcement course, which is two hours long.”

He continued, “during my counseling session with Macomber, I stressed the importance of maintaining proper speeds, and [limiting] distractions while driving. I explained to Macomber that I would be monitoring his speed daily for the next two months using [the] MyGeoTab GPS program.”

Macomber, owning up to his mistake, noted in the report that to prevent a similar incident in the future, he could operate the vehicle more safely and not operate his laptop simultaneously. He also stated he could pay more attention to his speed and travel the speed limit unless responding to a call.

Same mistake again

According to the same public records request, Macomber was again involved in a collision just over eight months later, on Dec. 12, 2020, while on a routine call.

At the time of the collision, he was traveling northbound on Sandridge Road near the intersection of 238th Place in Ocean Park, and again was looking at his patrol vehicle laptop while driving, even though he stated in the prior collisions’ report he would refrain from using it while driving.

“I was checking my [laptop] and looked back at traffic when I [noticed] I was approaching a vehicle that was stopped in front of me and what appeared to be waiting to make a turn on to 238th Pl,” he stated. “I slammed on the brakes and attempted to move out of the way to the right, and my left front collided with the parked [vehicle’s] back passenger bumper.”

Macomber immediately went to check the condition of the driver of the vehicle he struck before calling Wiegardt to inform him of the collision. The Washington State Patrol was requested to conduct the crash investigation, and Wiegardt again oversaw the completion of the department’s incident report.

Incomplete report, but was at fault

In the incident report, Macomber was again noted to be at fault due to working on moving equipment, unsafe equipment operation, and being inattentive to his task. The report was not complete, and Wiegardt did not provide any comments.

Macomber noted that to prevent future incidents, he could completely close his laptop when operating a moving vehicle, use radio communications more often and provide his full attention to traffic while operating a vehicle. He also noted he could take a distracted driving course, which was mentioned by Wiegard during the previous collision in April.

It’s unclear if the other driver in the collision was injured or if Macomber completed a distracted driver course after the April or December collisions. An inquiry by the Chinook Observer about the other driver and about the costs to repair the damage to the vehicle(s) during either collision has not been fulfilled.

Only one other collision

No other deputies were involved in a collision in 2020 and found to be at fault. PCSO Chief Criminal Pat Matlock found only one other collision involving a deputy.

“The only other deputy that was involved in a collision that I could find was with Sgt. Wiegardt, but he was rear-ended by another driver, so he was not at fault,” Matlock stated.

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