A volunteer firefighter from Hood River died on Sunday afternoon when he lost control of the tanker truck he was driving eastbound along Interstate 84.
According to police reports, Robert Hazlett, 52, was transporting an empty 3,000-gallon tanker truck back to Odell from Portland when it suddenly veered off the roadway about one mile west of Bonneville Dam. Witnesses reported that the right front tire of the vehicle appeared to have a blow out when it moved from the left to the right lane of the freeway. They said the truck left the highway near mile post 39 and traveled through tall grass and into a heavily wooded area where it struck a tree head-on.
The incident is under investigation by the Oregon State Police (OSP) and it has not yet been determined whether Hazlett was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
Emergency responders from the OSP, Cascade Locks Fire and Rescue and Odell Rural Fire Protection District were dispatched to the wreck but were unable to save Hazlett, who was pronounced dead at the scene by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner.
Hazlett was not involved in fire suppression efforts at the time of the crash, according to the OSP. He had been a volunteer for the Odell Fire Department for more than 10 years. In addition to his volunteer duties, Hazlett had been employed by the Oregon Department of Transportation for about 23 years.