Deer in roadway leads to death of Union motorcyclist

By Observer staff October 01, 2012 03:31 pm

A Union man was killed in the Wallowa River Canyon Saturday night in a multi-vehicle crash five miles west of Wallowa.

Tony Sumpter, 62, of Union, traveling with three other motorcycles, hit a deer in a curve near mile post 40  at approximately 7:20 p.m. He and his passenger, Nichole Tinsley of Spokane, were thrown from the motorcycle, according to Oregon State Police Sergeant Kyle Hove.

Sumpter landed in the eastbound lane when a vehicle driven by Edward Carlin, Jr., 64 of  Terrebone, struck Sumpter while attempting to avoid the collision. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Tinsley declined medical treatment. Both Sumpter and she were wearing protective helmets.

The highway was closed intermittently during a three hour period.

Wallowa County Sheriff’s Department, Wallowa Volunteer Fire Department, and Oregon Department of Transportation assisted at the crash scene. 

Oregon State Police is investigating the crash. 

This is the second traffic fatality in the Wallowa River Canyon in a month.

Oregon State Police and the Department of Transportation remind all drivers of the possible dangers associated with animals on or near our highways and to be attentive at all times, especially sunset to sunrise for any potential hazard on or near the highway.

When driving in areas that have special signs indicating the possible presence of livestock or wildlife use extra caution.

Remember that the presence of any type of livestock or wildlife could also mean that others are nearby.

Reduce speed when animals are seen and try and maintain the vehicle within the lane.

When driving a passenger vehicle, always wear your safety belt because any collision could result in serious injuries.