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Man dies in armored truck crash

POLK COUNTY -- A Corvallis man died last week as a result of injuries suffered during an armored truck crash along Highway 99W south of Monmouth.

POLK COUNTY -- A Corvallis man died last week as a result of injuries suffered during an armored truck crash along Highway 99W south of Monmouth.

Joseph Michael Pablo Jr., 24, was a passenger in the rear of a southbound Loomis armored truck when the vehicle went off the road at about 8 a.m. on Nov. 24 at milepost 67, north of Old Fort Road, said Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings.

The truck traveled to the west side of the highway, hit a tree and then rolled several times before coming to rest on its top, Hastings said.

Pablo was moved by a REACH air ambulance to Good Samaritan Regional Hospital in Corvallis with critical injuries. Pablo died the evening of Nov. 26, OSP said in a Saturday news release.

OSP did not say whether the driver, James P. Russell, 22, of Carlton sustained injuries. He was not transported for treatment and was cited by OSP for careless driving.

Russell was wearing safety restraints; Pablo was not, according to OSP.

OSP and Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies secured the scene until Loomis company officials arrived to remove the contents of the truck -- bags of money -- and the wrecked vehicle.

The cause of the accident, which took place during last week's spate of cold weather, is still under investigation. Road conditions were dry at the time, OSP said.

"Once the investigation is complete it will be submitted to the Polk County District Attorney for review," said OSP spokesman Pat Shortt. "The district attorney will then decide whether criminal charges are warranted in this matter."

Brandon Parlanti

was heading south to his log truck-driving job that morning when he saw OSP officers at the aftermath of the wreck.

"The truck was totally destroyed, severed in half," he said. "I was shocked because there was no ice on the road or rain and it wasn't foggy," Parlanti said.

Parlanti stopped and helped direct traffic until law enforcement officials arrived.

Ironically, the armored car crash took place just hundreds of feet from another fatal accident on Nov. 9. Parlanti's friend, Jeffrey Collins, was killed after the car he was riding in struck a horse that had wandered into the highway.

"That's actually what prompted me to stop," Parlanti said. "It was like, `oh god, not again.'"

There was a few signs of humanity in the midst of last week's tragedy, Parlanti noted. As he assisted with traffic in 19 degree weather, a random motorist stopped to give him a reflective jacket. Another stranger gave him a pair of gloves "to keep me from freezing my fingers off."

"Sometimes with all the crap that goes on in the world, good will is all we've got," he said.

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