Sherman County, Oregon -A motorcycle rider is dead after a freak accident with a wild turkey in Eastern Oregon. A tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The crash happened Sunday morning around 11:30am on Highway 97 about two miles north of Moro in Sherman county. Cpt. Tim Fox with Oregon State Police says the motorcycle rider 55-year-old Vanessa Gunther from Junction city died at the scene. She was riding her motorcycle when a wild turkey flew out in front a semi-truck on the highway. The truck hit the bird. Then the bird swung around and hit the Gunther on her bike. She hit the guard rail and died. Oregon State Police Cpt. Time Fox says its very sad and likely the first time a turkey has caused a deadly crash. But animal related crashes have happened before. Like the case of the Bend fire fighter who died after crashing when a bear ran out in front of him on Highway 26 last summer.
Read more from Oregon State Police
On Sunday, July 21, 2019, at approximately 11:33 AM, Oregon State Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash, involving a motorcycle, on Hwy 97 near mile post 15, approximately two miles north of Moro, Oregon.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle, operated by Vanesa Gunther (55) of Junction City, Oregon, was traveling southbound on Hwy 97 when a wild turkey collided with her after flying into a northbound commercial motor vehicle. After being struck by the turkey, Gunther traveled across the northbound lane and collided with a guardrail.
Gunther sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The northbound lane of Hwy 97 was closed for several hours following the crash.
OSP was assisted by the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, North Sherman Fire, Moro Fire and Rescue, and ODOT.