Vale Irrigation District employee dies when truck rolls

VALE – An employee of the Vale Oregon Irrigation District was killed Wednesday when a dump truck he was driving along a canal overturned and rolled, according to Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe.

The victim was Jonathan Harrison, 26, of Vale.

Wolfe said Harrison was a part of a crew from the irrigation district hauling material to shore up a canal bank. The accident happened about 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, about a mile north from where Birch Street ends, just north of its intersection with West Second Avenue.

He said Harrison was driving a 10-wheel dump truck on the canal bank with old cement when tires hit a soft shoulder.

“As the truck traveled the road, the shoulder on the down slope side gave way under the passenger side tires, causing the truck to slide off the road and then roll over several times,” said Aaron Corvin, public information officer for Oregon OSHA.

Wolfe said Harrison was ejected and there were no witnesses. He said the accident was found by another district employee hauling another load in, about 10 to 15 minutes after the accident. He said Harrison died at the scene.

Wolfe said the irrigation district been working on shoring up the canal bank for about two weeks to keep it from washing away.

“Oregon OSHA has opened an investigation with Vale Oregon Irrigation District,” Corvin said.

Wolfe said Harrison grew up in Vale and attended local schools.

“He was well known,” the sheriff said.

He said he was the son of the manager of the Les Schwab store in Vale.