Trucker loses load of apples in Hwy. 97 crash

Escapes serious injury; says he was trying to avoid deer

GRASS VALLEY, Ore. - A California apple-truck driver says he lost control of his rig while trying to avoid several deer in the dark on Highway 97 in Sherman County early Sunday morning, Oregon State Police reported.

 Juan Guillermo Jimenez, 47, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., avoided serious injury in a crash that destroyed his truck and trailer and left the cargo strewn on the roadside, troopers said -- and he's donating the undamaged fruit to a local charity.

Troopers said Jimenez was driving a 2003 Peterbilt truck hauling apples, heading south on Highway 97 about five miles south of Grass Valley when the crash occurred around 5:25 p.m.

As the driver negotiated the truck through a curve and encountered the deer, it went onto the shoulder, troopers said. Jimenez then over-corrected, and the truck and trailer rolled off the highway, they said.

The northbound lane was affected for several hours while workers recovered a portion of the load and removed the truck and trailer.

Jimenez, who was wearing his seat belt, got out of the crushed cab and later was taken by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles for treatment of minor injuries, troopers said.

OSP, South Sherman Fire & Rescue and ODOT personnel responded to the scene.

According to Senior Trooper Michael Holloran, a local tow company was working with the trucking company, Uncle Sam Transport out of Yakima, Wash., to salvage the unopened boxes of apples not affected in the crash.

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