Elton Gregory principal killed in Hwy. 26 crash

Motorcycle crashed on curve west of Mitchell

MITCHELL, Ore. - The Redmond community was shocked and saddened to learn Saturday that John Hartford, principal of Elton Gregory Middle School in Redmond, was killed late Friday afternoon in a motorcycle crash on Highway 26 west of Mitchell.

Oregon State Police said the crash occurred late Friday afternoon near the Crook/Wheeler county line .

According to Sgt. Mike Turner, around 5:25 p.m., a 2008 Yamaha motorcycle operated by Hartford, 52, was heading east on Highway 26 near milepost 52, , negotiating a curve, when it struck a guardrail.

Hartford was found thrown from the motorcycle by passing motorists who started emergency medical care until relieved by firefighters and paramedics from the Mitchell Fire Department and Crook County Fire & Rescue.

Hartford was pronounced dead at the scene.

OSP troopers from Prineville and Bend offices are continuing the investigation. Crook County Sheriff's Office and ODOT assisted at the scene. Trooper Andrea Vaughn is the lead investigator.

In a statement, the Redmond School District said it and the community mourned the loss of Hartford, who  joined the district as the assistant principal of Hugh Hartman Middle School.

In 2005, he assumed the role of principal at M.A. Lynch Elementary School, serving for three years before being named principal of Elton Gregory Middle School in 2009.

"All who encountered John admired his courage, honesty, and unwavering love for the students and staff of Elton Gregory Middle School and the Redmond School District," the news release stated.

"This is a tremendous loss for all of us in Redmond, not just our school district, but the entire community," said school district Superintendent Mike McIntosh. "John was an outstanding educator and a good man. He will be missed. Our prayers are with his family."

Support for students and staff will be provided through the Tri-County Crisis Response Team and the school district counseling staff throughout the coming days and weeks, the district said.

Candlelight Vigil:

Powell Butte Christian Church

13720 Oregon 126, Powell Butte, OR

Monday, September 24, 2012


Memorial Service:

Ridgeview High School Auditorium

4555 SW Elkhorn Avenue, Redmond, OR

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


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