One man died and another was injured when two motorcycles missed a curve on Grant County Road 20, Middle Fork Lane, and crashed on Thursday.
The Grant County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police were dispatched to the double wreck about 10:30 a.m., about 13 miles west of Austin Junction.
Sheriff Glenn Palmer said the crash occurred as a large group of motorcyclists from across Oregon were traveling west on the county road, part of a popular touring route for cycling.
Just after crossing the Big Boulder Creek bridge, a 2006 Suzuki motorcycle failed to make a turn and ran off the south side of the roadway onto Nature Conservancy land.
The driver, Billy Wayne Abell, 42, of Lake Oswego, was ejected as the bike hit a pine tree and nosedived into the ground. He died at the scene.
Another motorcycle – a 2009 Honda operated by Qrys Thorton, 38, of Beaverton – ran off the roadway next to Abell’s. The Honda struck several pine trees at a level about 8 feet off the ground.
Other motorcyclists took Thorton, who was reported to have injuries including a broken arm, on another bike and rushed off to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day. He was flown from there to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
Both riders were wearing helmets and protective riding gear. Palmer said speed was a contributing factor in the crash.
Police are continuing the investigation.Read more on bluemountaineagle.com.