Police give details from fatality accident

June 15, 2011

Forest Andrews, 18, died shortly before 2 p.m. Friday in a skateboarding accident at Columbia and Industrial Way.

According to a Hood River Police report, Forest was riding his longboard down a hill on Columbia and his body hit a box truck that was traveling west on Industrial Way where it meets Columbia.

Forest and his friend Zach Olmstead were longboarding together where Columbia takes a sharp, steep decline at Fourth street, just north of the Elks Lodge. Olmstead escaped injury.

"Witnesses said they were going really fast," said Police Sgt. Neal Holste, though he could not specify their speed.

Holste said, "As they continued down Columbia, they dropped over the hill, and both saw the semi pull onto Columbia and continue westbound. They both jumped off their longboards and attempted to run it out."

"Zach did okay; he got to the sidewalk; but Forest continued running down the road, and at the flat point tripped and rolled, under the back two tires of the truck."

First on the scene was Jeff Pricher, Cascade Locks fire chief, who was three blocks away at the U.S. Forest Service office when the 9-1-1 call went out. Pricher administered CPR, along with bystanders, until Hood River ambulance crew arrived, said Fire Chief Devon Wells.

"Aid was provided as quickly as you can get it," Wells said, referring to Pricher being so nearby. "There was excellent cooperation between those who first responded, and police and our agency." Capt. Manuel Irusta was incident commander.

"It was definitely a very difficult situation for everyone. They were all highly aware of what an impact this would have on the community."

The truck driver, Robert Henry, was unhurt and no citation will be issued. Henry had stopped the 53-foot empty box truck, registered to Sorenson Transport Company, of Centralia, Wash. at Third and Columbia and was proceeding west on Columbia when the accident occurred.

"He thought he was going to just hit the longboard," Holste said. "He ended up locking (the brakes) up."

City ordinances do not expressly prohibit skateboard use on city streets, but the law does require bikes or skateboards to be equipped "as required by state law, including lights and reflectors," and further states that skateboards must not be operated "in a careless or reckless manner which endangers or would be likely to endanger the person, another or any property."

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