By News-Register staff • 

Construction worker struck, killed in Northeast McMinnville identified

 McMinnville Police have identified the construction worker who was struck and killed by a pickup the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 26, as Don Zapata, 61, of Amity.

The incident occurred at Northeast Alpha and Riverside drives.

"He was walking along the side of the street when he was struck," Capt. Rhonda Jaasko said.

Stephen Stevens, 84, of McMinnville, was identified as the driver of the Dodge Ram 3500 that struck the worker, employed by Pacific Excavation Inc., which is headquartered elsewhere but has a McMinnville operation, according to Jaasko. He remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation.

Police and McMinnville Fire Department personnel responded to the location shortly before 8 a.m. Fire department personnel performed immediate life-saving measures, and a Life Flight helicopter was requested, but Zapata was pronounced dead at the scene.

The incident occurred just east of Marsh Lane, which borders McMinnville Water and Light property. Riverside Drive between Marsh and Miller Street was closed for about three hours while the Yamhill County Multi-Agency Traffic Team investigated the incident.

No charges have been filed but the investigation is ongoing.



That stretch of road would be a whole lot safer if the pedestrians would wear bright or reflective clothing. There are a number of "homeless" people on foot in this area.
The water and light department should put super bright LED lights in all the street lights along Riverside Drive all the way to Miller street..
The city/county should widen Riverside Drive from Miller Street to the S-curve at Blossom Drive, install street lights and a bike path plus a pedestrian walkway throughout that stretch.
There should be no parking of RV's along Riverside...Their presence blocks visibility along Riverside Dr.


The Driver has no excuse, its his job to see and not hit people walking down the street!


Why not build a skybridge for pedestrians? Or a giant escalator?
Maybe we should consider the automatic retesting of all drivers above a certain age.


"David" He was installing the sidewalk......Mr. Zapata was a very nice man and has great kids. There was all kinds of safety stuff around the site and the workers wear florescent gear. People need to pay attention! And if you are approaching senior years it's so important to be on your game.


We need to continually re-test and re-license drivers as they get older. AARP will not allow for that ever, so the politicians won't vote for changes to the rules until the fatalities grow so large that the outrage finally convinces them to see the light.

Bill B

I drove by this site last week as they were pouring the curbs and sidewalks Workers were standing out in the street along with a cement truck. No traffic control, flaggers etc. I notice construction seems to have stopped. OSHA investigation?


Oregonian- According to the website,The DMV has “driver evaluation request” forms that can be filled out by anyone. Physicians also can limit driving privileges based on exam results or health issues.
Mandatory re tests because a person reaches a certain age smacks of age discrimination and penalizes competent drivers with added time/ expense. I’m with AARP on that one.


Tagup - I'm not a senior yet and I would be happy to live in a system with age based re-testing. I also have a motorcycle endorsement and would be happy to prove I am safe to myself and others by retaking the test every so often based on age.

You're right about the doc thing. The first thing law enforcement does when an older driver might be at fault for an accident is pull their medical file. If the last doc they saw should have identified a problem with their cognition (and their ability to drive) the doc has a real liability problem with their medical license. I went to a podiatrist in Newberg years ago. He had DMV forms pre-signed and sitting out in one of the exam rooms. I asked him what they were for. He said he filled out two or so a week (for senior drivers) because he was so concerned with his own liability.

This country needs to worry more about the big picture and less about infringing on rights. We've come farther faster than any country ever has. A little bit of common sense won't ruin anything.


I agree with your final statement.... applying that logic to gun ownership would certainly save a lot of innocent lives.

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