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HOOD RIVER, ORE - The Hood River County Sheriff's Office will be increasing patrols for driving under the influence of intoxicants, safety belt violations and distracted drivers through the Labor Day weekend. The Sheriff's Office participates in two national traffic enforcement campaigns administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Oregon Department of Transportation. Grant funds are allocated to law enforcement agencies in an effort to provide high visibility enforcement of traffic laws during peak travel times. The goal is to reduce fatalities and injuries.
According to NHSTA, on average, over 10,000 people died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk-driving crashes. During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend (6 p.m. August 29 -- 5:59 a.m. September 2), 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage over the five years 2010 to 2014. Distracted driving statistics paint a grim picture: In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. It is clear that distracted driving continues to be a deadly driving hazard. Also in 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. Law enforcement agencies will write citations day and night, with a zero-tolerance approach.
Please be careful on the roadways. If you suspect someone of driving while impaired call 911 immediately and report it.
CASCADE LOCKS, OREGON - On August 2, 2016 at 5:42 p.m., the Hood River County Sheriff's Office received a call of a hiker who had fallen into Punchbowl Falls on the Eagle Creek Trail, west of Cascade Locks. Personnel from the sheriff's office, American Medical Response and the Hood River Crag Rats responded to the scene.
Witnesses at the scene reported the male had sustained a head injury and was under water when they reached him. Before rescue personnel could arrive at the scene, bystanders reported that the male was deceased. By about 7:43 p.m., rescue crews reached the accident site, which is about two miles from the trailhead. They confirmed that the man had sustained a fatal injury.
The victim has been identified as twenty year old Francesco Goncalves of Eastchester, New York. Witness reports and evidence at the scene indicate that he fell around seventy feet from above the waterfall. Goncalves was hiking with a group of friends, several of whom reported witnessing the accident. No further details about the cause of the accident are available at this time.
The Hood River County Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation in collaboration with the Hood River County District Attorney's Office and Hood River County Medical Examiner.