UNION COUNTY, OR - According to the Oregon State Police (OSP), on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at approximately 1:50 P.M., OSP responded to a single vehicle crash on Highway 244, near milepost 45, in Union County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a Freightliner propane tanker truck, operated by James Dwayne Thomas (52) of Union, was eastbound when it left the roadway, overcorrected back onto the roadway, and rolled onto its side.
The crash caused the vehicle to catch fire and by the time first responders arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames.
The scene was unsafe due to the propane fire and first responders were forced to secure the scene from a safe distance (½ mile) until fire fighters were able to extinguish the flames.
The single occupant of the vehicle, James Thomas, was declared deceased at the scene.
The highway was closed for 5.5 hours during the on-scene investigation.
OSP was assisted by the Union County Sheriff's office, ODOT, La Grande Fired, Oregon Department of Forestry Fire, and La Grande Rural Fire.