On December 7, 2017, at about 2:20 PM, Oregon State Police (OSP) Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a two-vehicle crash on Highway 351 near milepost 5.5 (at Wallowa Lake).

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2000 Silver Dodge Caravan, operated by Michael Paul Sprissler, age 63, of Molalla, was traveling southbound on Highway 351 near milepost 5.5 when he veered across the highway in the path of a white 1996 Ford F250 pickup, operated by James Anthony Burton, age 59, of Joseph. The Ford impacted the driver’s side of the Dodge and Sprissler was fatally injured and pronounced deceased at the scene. Burton was not injured.

Highway 351 was closed for about four hours while Troopers investigated the crash scene. OSP was assisted by the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Fire and Rescue, and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Speed and icy road conditions are being investigated as possible contributing factors in the crash. This is an ongoing investigation and more information will be released when available.

OSP reminds drivers that winter conditions are now upon us and to travel with extreme care. SLOW DOWN and watch for ice in shaded areas. Check the emergency equipment in your vehicles including the safety equipment needed such as chains and snow tires to travel into Oregon’s snow zones. For more information, check ODOT’s website on Winter Travel Tips.