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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow PIT ACCIDENT INJURES TRUCK DRIVER



By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

A La Grande woman was critically injured Monday afternoon when the off-road 769 Cat Dump truck she was driving flipped into an old gravel pit near R.D. Mac's McAlister Road pits.

Judith D. Beeson, 52, of 1809 26th St., Space 65, sustained serious head injuries at about 2:30 p.m. when the Cat Dump went end-over-end backwards down an approximately 30-foot embankment, landing on its roof in three to four feet of water, according to Union County Deputy Sheriff and

La Grande Rural firefighter Jim Voelz.

Beeson was reported this morning in critical condition with brain injuries in the intensive care unit of a Boise


According to a witness, Connie R. Goff, who was clearing top soil from the site of a new gravel pit, the two women were loading soil from Goff's trac-hoe into Beeson's Cat Dump.

Beeson was moving the loads a few hundred feet and emptying them into another pit area.

According to Voelz, Goff saw Beeson moving a load, looked away and looked back about 30 seconds later. Beeson's truck could not be seen.

Goff ran to the edge of the pit and saw the Cat Dump upside down in water, about 30 feet below her.

She took a company pickup truck to get help at the main plant and call emergency services.

When La Grande Rural Fire Department rescuers arrived with members of their rope rescue team, Voelz said that R.D. Mac employees already had slid down the embankment and removed Beeson from the partially submerged cab.

The employees had placed her on a lip of soil at the edge of the water so they could start CPR.

"She (Beeson) was down an embankment, and it was vertical," Voelz said.

Rope rescue team members, including Bob Grove, Monica Roath and Jeff Zurbrick, among others, went down the embankment to treat Beeson and to load her into a Stokes rescue sled.

Balancing the rescue sled while in their own rope harnesses, two rescuers kept the sled steady while the

others pulled the sled up the embankment .

Beeson was taken by ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital and then transported by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.


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