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Driver for Central Point company dies

BUTTE FALLS — A 47-year-old truck driver died Wednesday afternoon after his semitrailer rolled off an embankment east of Butte Falls, police said.

Rob Hartwell, a driver for Central Pipeline out of Central Point, was traveling on Fish Lake Road when he lost control of his semitrailer and it slid down the 30-foot embankment, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

"It seems that speed was a factor in the crash," Winters said.

Winters did not know where Hartwell was living at the time of the crash.

Apparently, Hartwell was attempting to negotiate a right-hand curve when he lost control of the trailers his 1987 Kenworth was pulling, Winters said.

The vehicle went over the embankment backwards, crushing the cab, Winters said.

It is not known if the truck's brakes failed and caused the speeding vehicle to lose control on the curve, Winters said.

"That's something our investigators will be looking at," Winters said.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials were called to the scene to inspect the semitrailer, which is protocol in industrial accidents, Winters said.

The crash shut down the road for several hours. Crash investigators remained at the scene past 9:30 p.m.

A Dick's towing vehicle arrived late in the evening to haul the big rig out of the embankment.

The large dump trailer contained red cinder that goes along highways, Winters said.

Alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash, Winters said.

"We'll continue investigating the crash and could have more information to release later (today) or in the week," Winters said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.