Vancouver man, Oregon deputy, dies in motorcycle crash

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office veteran, 47, was off duty in California

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter

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A Vancouver man and longtime Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy died Thursday following a motorcycle crash in California.

Eric Gustafson, 47, was off duty when he crashed his motorcycle near Redding, Calif.

Lt. Steve Alexander, spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday evening that Gustafson was flown by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, where he died.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred at about 3:20 p.m. on a rural highway and involved no other passengers or vehicles. According to preliminary information, Gustafson’s motorcycle drifted off the edge of Highway 36, resulting in a loss of control.

A news release from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office noted that Gustafson was a 26-year veteran of the agency and its most senior law enforcement deputy.

Gustafson spent several years with the motorcycle unit, providing support for parades, funerals, memorials and other special events in addition to traffic enforcement. Gustafson was also involved with the search and rescue program.

He was honored in 1999 for Outstanding Investigation by the International Association of Marine Investigators during his service in the River Patrol Unit.

“Eric had a lasting impact on the Sheriff’s Office and he will be missed greatly by all of us,” Sheriff Dan Staton said in the news release. “He will be remembered for his dedicated service, friendship and loyalty.”

The sheriff’s office released this statement on behalf of Gustafson’s family: “Eric was a beloved son, brother, uncle, and example for all of us. The family deeply appreciates the community support and the help provided through the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.”

The family said that a memorial service is being planned for the afternoon of Sept. 13.

More information will be provided when available.