Driver shoots self after head-on crash

Driver shoots self after head-on crash

MAUPIN, Ore. -- A man involved in a nearly head-on crash on a remote stretch of Oregon highway threatened a passerby who stopped to help him before emergency personnel arrived.

By the time an ambulance crew arrived, the man inside the pickup was dead, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to Oregon State Police, Louis Donald Smith, 24, of Madras, Ore., was traveling at a high rate of speed northbound on Highway 197 about 11 miles south of Maupin, Ore., when he crossed into oncoming traffic. His 1992 Ford F150 pickup collided with a southbound Ford Explorer with a family of four on board around 3:15 p.m. Sunday.

The driver of the Explorer, Richard Paul, 39, from Redmond, Wash., was able to get out of his vehicle and check on his wife, Wendy, 40, and two boys, ages 7 and 4. 

All had minor injuries and were later transported by a relative to Redmond, Ore. State police did not know if they sought medical treatment later.

A passerby who stopped to check on Smith in the red Ford told police he retreated after Smith made a threatening comment to him and the passerby noticed a rifle in the truck.

By the time police and ambulance arrived, Smith was dead, the victim of self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Earlier in the day, the Madras Police Department had asked other law enforcement agencies to keep an eye out for Smith. Police suspected he had an argument with his girlfriend and had pointed a firearm at her.