ACCIDENT CLAIMS JOSEPH TEEN-AGER

June 14, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

JOSEPH A Joseph teen died Wednesday when the vehicle in which he was riding rolled on Imnaha Highway 350, three miles east of Joseph..

Rohs Kuppinger, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other Joseph youths were transported by ambulance to Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise.

Tiffany Zimmer, 15, was treated and released. Aaron Broadbent was flown to St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, where he is in stable condition. A Wallowa Memorial Hospital spokesman said he was transported there as a precaution.

The Joseph ambulance and fire department was dispatched to the scene at 4:49 p.m. Broadbent was extricated with the Jaws-of-Life tool. Zimmer crawled out of the vehicle. Both were wearing seatbelts, an OSP report said.

Kuppinger, son of Tad and Denise Kuppinger of Joseph, had been ejected from the 1992 Toyota 4 Runner. He was not wearing a seatbelt, the police said.

Broadbent was driving west when the vehicle left the roadway on the north. As he was attempting to regain control, the vehicle proceeded back up and onto the highway, sliding sideways before launching off the south side of the highway, police said. The vehicle then overturned.

The distance appeared to have been nearly one-fourth of a mile from where the vehicle left the pavement to where it came to rest pointing somewhat backwards.

Exact details will not be known until an Oregon State Police accident reconstruction team completes its investigation.

Kuppinger was an all-league first baseman on the Joseph High School baseball team, a wrestler and a lineman on the football team.