PLAINS – An accident occurred on Pat’s Knob Road Tuesday afternoon that took the life of one of the crewmembers working in the area.
Gary Wayne Beagles, 57, of Spokane, WA was in a grade-all forklift when the heavy machinery he was driving went off the road before rolling about 100 feet down the side of the mountain. The accident occurred approximately ten miles up Pat’s Knob.
According to Sanders County Deputy Coroner Dan Bates, it appeared Beagles was ejected from the vehicle that subsequently rolled on top of him. He was declared deceased at the scene.
Beagles was doing work for Tice Electric, an electric company based out of Portland, Oregon. The company was contracted out by Bonneville Power Administration and according to the Spokesperson for BPA, Doug Johnson, Beagles was doing work on one of their repeater stations.
A repeater station is an automated radio station that helps extend the range of communications. It is unknown how long Beagles was working on the job before the accident occurred.
“We do have personnel on the scene who are going to do an accident investigation. At this point, we don’t know what the cause was,” said Johnson.
Officials on site of the scene said a Bonneville Power generator was being replaced and the equipment mover involved in the accident was empty at the time of the incident.
“He was just moving this machinery back down the hill,” said U.S. Forest Service Officer Clint MMcGuffey.
According to Forest Service Patrol Captain, Morgan Dale, numerous agencies would have to complete an investigation of the accident before more information could be provided. Along with BPA, OHSA and MHP are also conducting investigations.
“The scene is still under investigation. We’re still taking measurements and what not. We have some more people to talk to,” said Dale.
As the numerous agencies work on discovering the details of the accident, BPA stated their thoughts are with all those affected by the accident.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” said Johnson. “It’s always tragic when something like this happens.”
The Valley Press is continually working on this story and more updates will be released as they are received.