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Trackhoe fatality in Spanish Fork Canyon

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A trackhoe accident claims the life of one in Spanish Fork Canyon

On 12/16/02, at approximately 09:30 hours, a Payson resident, who was traveling up Spanish Fork Canyon via SR-6, noticed a large black plume of smoke coming from the hillside North of the roadway. This was located at approximately mile marker 194. The resident noted that an older male had stopped in that area and was walking toward something on the hillside. The Payson citizen stopped as well to see if he could render some assistance. Both men began to walk up the hillside toward the object, which turned out to be a trackhoe. It appeared to have rolled down the hillside from somewhere near the top of the ridgeline. While on the hillside, a third male, who was later identified as the victim's son, ran toward them and they all approached the wreckage together. They were unable to immediately locate the driver of the trackhoe. Eventually they located the driver some distance from the trackhoe. At that time the victim, one Ricky Eugene Olsen (age 40) of the Price area, was found to be alive but seriously injured. He shortly died thereafter. Mr. Olsen had been working in the area, with his son, to clear trees away from the powerlines on the top of the ridge. The company that they worked for, Trees Inc., had been subcontracted to do the clearance by Utah Power and Light. At this time, Utah County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating the incident. Representatives from the State Medical Examiner's Office, UDOT, and OSHA also responded to assist with the investigation. Reported by Sgt. Yvette M. Rice; Utah County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer.