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Malheur County Sheriff's Office logo

VALE — A recreational outing in a remote area southwest of Vale took a turn for the worst on Saturday, when two men ended up dying while riding in a off-road vehicle.

According to Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe, a call came in just before 7 p.m. about a report of two fatalities on Twin Springs Road.

Upon arriving, Undersheriff Travis Johnson and a sergeant discovered a scene in which two men had “been dislodged” from a side by side UTV, and died from their injuries. During an investigation it was discovered that the men, Zachery Trillhaase, 31, and Johnnie Maples, 47, both of Parma, had been ridden out to the Dry Creek area to go fishing. When they headed back, the men were ahead of their respective wife and girlfriend and a couple of children, and when the women and children came around a corner “they saw dust and saw there was a wreck,” Wolfe said.

“They tried lifesaving procedures but were unsuccessful,” he said.

One of the children who was a little older reportedly took another side by side and drove it until finding other people, then requested those people to drive on until they had cell phone service to report it. That party drove to the top of a hill out there and was able to get service to report the crash.

Wolfe said Maples was believed to be the driver and that the investigation into the crash is continuing. While there was alcohol on scene, the sheriff said it unknown if it was a contributing factor in the crash. He believed that speed may have been a contributing factor when the UTV possibly came into contact with the side of the road, subsequently “dislodging” the men.

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