In the community

Vale man injured after pickup crashes through fence at West Cedar Road home

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Nathan Lewis, Vale, after he crashed his Ford Ranger into the front yard of Roy and Judith Obermeier June 27.

VALE – On Sunday night, Judith Obermeier wanted to find a good place in her yard to plant her sweet pea bloom.

Her husband, Roy, was eager to help.

“You find a spot you think is OK and I will dig the hole,” he told her.

Judith Obermeier chose as place near the front yard fence for the plant at their home at West Cedar Road and Graham Boulevard.

Her husband quickly dug the hole and she placed the sweet pea bloom in. Roy turned – his back to the front yard fence – and began to put dirt into the hole.

Then the world exploded.

Police said as Roy stood, a Ford Ranger pickup operated by Nathan Lewis, 40, Vale, hurtled through the Obermeiers’ fence and into the yard.

“I heard the noise and looked up. Next thing I knew we were both on the ground,” said Judith.

As the pickup crashed through the fence, pieces of wood and other debris hit both of the Obermeiers. Judith, 77, escaped with bumps and bruises but Roy, the pastor at the Willowcreek Community Church, was injured in his right hand and left leg. He was taken to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario.

“He couldn’t move his leg, but he could move his toes,” Judith said.

Tuesday, Roy Obermeier, 74, was improving, she said.

“He will have to walk with a walker for a while,” said Judith Obermeier.

Lewis was arrested by Malheur County Sheriff’s Office deputies at about 9 p.m. Sunday, June 27.

Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson said the accident happened when Lewis swerved to miss a car.

Lewis was charged with two counts of third-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, second-degree criminal mischief and refusal to take a test for intoxicants.

Lewis was lodged in the Malheur County Jail with a bail set at $100,000. Court documents show Lewis later posted a $10,000 bond.

Lewis is scheduled to be arraigned in the Malheur County Circuit Court on Tuesday, July 6.

Johnson said the sheriff’s office is still investigating the crash.

Judith Obermeier, who also went to the hospital, said it was a strange and terrifying night.

“What a way to end the day,” said Judith Obermeier.  

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-235-1003.


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