MADRAS, Ore. - A Portland-area truck driver hauling 15,000 pounds of frozen food to Prineville for McDonald's told authorities he choked on some coffee and blacked out early Saturday morning. His rig then sideswiped a metal-sided barn along Highway 26 south of Madras, in a crash so violent the rig lost its rear axles.
The driver, identified as Michael Plumondore, 59, of Boring, who works for Golden State Food (GSF) Corp., called emergency dispatchers shortly before 7 a.m. to report what had happened, Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Josh Roth said.
The driver, who was not injured, said he became choked on coffee, became unconscious and awoke sitting in the now-stopped truck, Roth said.
Hay farmer Debbie Volle, who with her husband John operate Healthy Hay 4 Horses on a 125-acre property, told NewsChannel 21 they heard a sound just as the sun was rising, but added, "We hear trucks all the time."
However, when they looked through a telescope down to the highway, by their fence and locked gate, "here's this guy who sideswiped the whole side of the hay barn."
Eventually, there was a traffic jam of sorts from people looking at the bright red McDonald's trailer with the oversized French fries on the side and the slogan "Going, going, gone."
"We're just thankful nobody was coming in the opposite direction," Volle said.
But with the barn's posts broken, the trusses compromised and the roof partially off, the already stored hay could be compromised, she said, adding, "We have a third cutting of hay that needs to be put in that barn."
Roth said the driver was ticketed for failure to maintain a lane.
"I think the trailer was the only thing that hit the barn," he said, as the cab itself wasn't damaged. Roth said a tow company was bringing in a refrigerated truck to unload the cargo.