DEPOE BAY — A classic pickup truck plunged over a sheer 50-foot embankment and into the harbor Friday around noon, leaving its driver unhurt at the top of the cliff after he jumped from the vehicle.
The classic 1965 Chevrolet C-10 pickup landed upright on a tidal flat but appeared to have been totaled. Eyewitnesses at the scene identified the owner and driver as businessman Vance Miller, operator of the Burger 101 restaurant chain in Lincoln City and Depoe Bay.
“We heard it crashing down the cliff,” recalled Capt. Brad Haight of the charter vessel Mr. Max. “It sounded like sheet metal grinding on concrete.”
Among the onlookers was a Lincoln City man who identified himself as the truck’s mechanic, saying he had come to witness the disaster. Meanwhile, a U.S. Coast Guard motor life boat from the nearby Depoe Bay station ferried a crew of first responders to the scene, including members of the Depoe Bay Fire Dept.
“Apparently the driver, who was parked in a lot behind the Spouting Horn Restaurant, had a mechanical issue with his brakes and just lost the vehicle over the side,” remarked DBFD Capt. Eric Leonard.
Hours after the incident, Depoe Bay Harbormaster Roy Hildebrandt said the city was waiting on word from the truck owner’s insurance company about how they would extricate the vehicle — hopefully before high tides reach the wreck.
The model pickup in the accident is considered a classic with a price tag of $11,000 to $60,000 depending on condition, according to collectible auto dealers.