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Single-car accident claims life

BUENA VISTA -- A one-vehicle accident in the early morning hours of Oct. 16 on Wigrich Road near Buena Vista left a vehicle in flames and a 38-year-old Norwegian man dead.

October 23, 2013

BUENA VISTA -- A one-vehicle accident in the early morning hours of Oct. 16 on Wigrich Road near Buena Vista left a vehicle in flames and a 38-year-old Norwegian man dead.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office received reports at 12:33 a.m. of the accident in the 8300 block of Wigrich Road.

A Ford Explorer belonging to a home owner on Wigrich Road and driven by a Norwegian man living at the home on an extended visit veered off the road, hit a culvert and launched into a telephone pole, shearing the pole in half.

Three Polk County Sheriff's deputies and firefighters with Polk County Fire District No. 1 responded to the accident and found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames.

It wasn't until the fire was extinguished that firefighters found a deceased person inside the vehicle.

No identification was found but officers determined the vehicle was associated with a home on Wigrich Road, less than a mile away from the accident.

Initial attempts failed, but officers eventually reached the homeowner, who informed the officers the Norwegian man had been staying at the home and was using the vehicle.

A cause for the accident is not known but as large gouges in the road were found half a mile after the Corvallis Road and Buena Vista Road intersection in the direction of the accident, leading deputies to believe a catastrophic failure occurred with the vehicle's right front wheel.

It is known the man was at a bar in Independence earlier in the night; however, it is not known if he went somewhere else afterward.

An autopsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of the accident. The man had been living at the home on Wigrich Road for almost three months.

Polk County Sheriff's Office Detective John Williams is in communication with the Norwegian consulate in Portland to determine a positive identification of the man.

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