Man Identified in Traffic Stop Death

VENETA, Ore. — Police identified the man who fatally shot himself during a traffic stop west of Veneta last weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, an Oregon State Police sergeant pulled over a Corvette that was going 75 miles per hour on Highway 126W in a 55 mile per hour zone. A male hitch-hiker in the passenger’s seat got out of the car and started to walk toward the trooper’s car with his hands up. That’s when the driver, 53-year-old David Eugene Vale, of Portland, drove off eastbound. After about a mile, Vale drove to the shoulder again. When the sergeant got out of his car, he heard a gunshot and Vale drove off for a little bit until he drove into a ditch and hit a tree.

The sergeant looked in the Corvette and saw Vale had shot himself. He called for medical and grabbed his first aid kit from his car, but when he got back to the Corvette, it was too late to help Vale.

Polcie found a large amount of methamphetamine and heroin inside Vale’s car. Investigators say Vale has a lengthy criminal record of drug offenses in Oregon dating back to 1989.

OSP interviewed the hitch-hiker and determined he was not involved in Vale’s death.

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