Parkdale man dies in Dee Highway crash Sunday

A 51-year-old Parkdale man died Sunday in a single vehicle crash on Dee Highway, near Odell.

Frederick Cranston Schmidt was heading southbound on State Highway 281 at mile post 10.5 when the truck he was driving left the road, struck a power pole and slid down an embankment before coming to rest against a tree, according to report from Oregon State Police.


FRED SCHMIDT runs in Camp Patriot’s Fourth of July Fun Run in Hood River, a 5k charity event that donates proceeds to disabled veterans. The next day, Schmidt lost his life in a car crash on Dee Highway. This was the last photo taken of Schmidt, said Janet Wilson, a local Camp Patriot coordinator.

OSP trooper Gavin McIlvenna of The Dalles patrol responded to the crash at about 9:15 Sunday night, July 5. Hood River County Sheriff’s Office and Parkdale Fire and EMS also responded.

Police found Schmidt dead in a white 1998 Ford flat rack truck, which was leaning against a tree on the side of the road.

Officials closed off the highway in both directions for several hours during the investigation. According to an OSP incident report, the driver had been “unrestrained” and “alcohol appears to be a factor.”

The highway was re-opened later that night, once OSP closed the investigation.

Schmidt was born and raised in Baker City. He loved the outdoors and spent much of his time bird hunting, fishing and camping. Schmidt’s most recent jobs were at NCS orchard and Valley Ag in Parkdale.

Those close to Schmidt noted his dedication to family, friends and work in his obituary. “Everywhere Fred worked, he left a positive impression on those with whom he came in contact,” they wrote.

The day before the car accident, Schmidt ran in Camp Patriot’s 5k Fourth of July fun run in Hood River, an event that gives its proceeds to disabled veterans.

Schmidt is survived by his son, Tyler, siblings Kip Taylor of Kentucky, Kim Cantrell and Jackie Heck of Hood River, as well as other family members in Parkdale and around the nation.

A celebration of life for Fred Schmidt will be held Sunday, July 12 at 3 p.m. at Hood River Valley Christian Church, 975 Indian Creek Rd. Hood River. A reception will follow at the church.

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