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Dec-15-2009 18:21printcomments

Trucker Killed While Applying Chains on Interstate 84 Off Ramp in Ontario

The freeway off ramp was closed about two hours during the scene investigation.

Fatal crash near Ontario, Oregon 12-15-09
Photo of fatal crash scene: Oregon State Police

(ONTARIO, Ore.) - Oregon State Police troopers, with the help of Malheur County Sheriff's Office and Ontario Police Department, are continuing the investigation into a fatal crash Tuesday morning in the Ontario area.

It was snowing heavily when two commercial truck drivers chaining up a vehicle were hit by a third commercial vehicle on a freeway off ramp resulting in the death of one person and injuries to a second.

Preliminary information provided by OSP Lieutenant Richard Pileggi indicates on December 15, 2009 at approximately 8:08 a.m. two commercial truck drivers were stopped on the right side of the westbound Interstate 84 exit 374 off ramp.

Another commercial vehicle driven by 35-year old Francisco Lecaro of Perris, California, took the off ramp and passed one of the disabled trucks where the two drivers were applying chains wearing reflective jackets on that truck's left drive axle.

The two drivers applying chains were identified as 35-year old Milton Scot Belton of Colville, Washington, and 45-year old Miguel Victorio-Alvarez of Nampa, Idaho. Troopers investigating the incident believe the passing commercial vehicle's semi-trailer hit both men. Lecaro continued from the scene and was located later with his commercial vehicle at Love's Truckstop by Ontario police. Milton Belton was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Victorio-Alvarez was transported to Holy Rosary Medical Center in Ontario with non-life threatening injuries.

Mr. Belton and Mr. Victorio-Alvarez were driving for TransSystems company. Lecaro was driving for CR England, Inc.

The freeway off ramp was closed about two hours during the scene investigation.

Ontario-area troopers and OSP collision reconstructionist are continuing the investigation with the assistance of Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris, Malheur County Sheriff's Office and Ontario Police Department.

ODOT and Ontario Fire Department assisted at the scene.

OSP and ODOT urge all drivers to use caution this winter when passing vehicles stopped on the side of any highway, slowing down and paying close attention for persons outside applying chains on a vehicle.

Winter Driving Tips are available on ODOT's website at: oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/winterdriving.shtml.

Police say the truck in the photograph on the left was not involved in this incident. It stopped at the scene when its driver saw the two men after they were struck.

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