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Man dies, another hospitalized in early morning crash

A Columbia County man was killed early Saturday morning, Oct. 17, in a fatal crash at Pittsburg Road and Canaan Road, in an unincorporated area of Columbia County.

Joseph Cullen, 27, was driving a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup truck at 1:23 a.m. when the truck lost control, went off the road and landed down an embankment, killing Cullen and sending one of his three passengers to an area hospital, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

The crash injured 24-year-old Jeremy Eagleston, who was sitting behind Cullen in the truck's rear passenger seat. Eagleston was extricated from the truck and taken by Life Flight helicopter to a hospital with serious injuries.

Columbia County Undersheriff Andy Moyer said the Sheriff's Office is investigating the single vehicle crash.

“The cause is still under investigation,” Moyer noted. He said his agency is investigating whether drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Due to limited Sheriff's Office staffing in the early morning hours, Oregon State Police also responded to the crash scene.

“When it got called out, we only had one deputy on duty so state police arrived first with two troopers on scene and then the CCSO deputy arrived,” Moyer said.

Saturday's crash wasn't the first fatal crash Cullen was involved in.

In May 2007, Cullen was the driver in a crash along Pittsburg Road in St. Helens that killed his passenger, 20-year-old Ryan Harrington.

At the time, Cullen was driving a 2006 Nissan 350 Z. Police reports from the time indicated cullen was driving at a high rate of speed and lost control of the car, which drove off the road and hit an old cement foundation. Cullen and Harrington were wearing seat belts, but Harrington was ejected from the car and died at the scene.

Cullen was later convicted of criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence, court records show.