On Thursday, July 30, 2020, at approximately 11:13 P.M., Oregon State Police responded to a death investigation on Hwy 194 near milepost 1 (Smith Rd) in Polk County. Preliminary investigation revealed a white Chevrolet Silverado, operated by David Joshua Gomez (34) of Independence, OR, was traveling southbound when for unknown reasons his vehicle left the roadway and collided with a tree down an embankment. The driver suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The Mr. Gomez was reported missing when he did not show up for work on July 30. His family searched for him and reported him missing around 8:00 P.M. After an extensive search Officers with Independence Police Department found the vehicle two-hours later with the driver inside. No foul play is suspected. The Investigation is ongoing.
The Polk County Sherriff’s Office, Independence Police Department, Polk County Fire, and ODOT responded to assist. The highway was closed for approximately 6 hours.