Nathan Gourley

Scio, Oregon, US

Civilian

Scio, US, 07/28/2008

Arlene Gourley remembered her son Nathan this morning as a “very loving, caring young man.” Nathan, 16, who completed his sophomore year at Scio High School last June, was killed about 3:40 p.m. Monday when the farm vehicle he was driving collided with a log truck, according to Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller. He died at the scene.

Witnesses said Nathan was southbound on Richardson Gap Road driving a New Holland Stackhand Cruiser loaded with baled hay, going slower than the posted 55 mph limit. Corey Charles Callsen, 35, of Stayton was driving an unloaded Kenworth log truck behind Nathan.

At Richardson Gap and Larwood Drive, Callsen attempted to pass as Nathan started to make a left turn, the sheriff said. The vehicles collided at the intersection, and Nathan was ejected.

Arlene Gourley said her son loved to work on the family’s dairy operation in Scio by milking their 180 cows, moving irrigation pipe and assisting with the hay crop. Nathan was involved with 4-H and FFA and was the vice president of his FFA chapter.

“He also had a passion for the Lord,” his mother said. “He accepted Christ into his heart at a young age.”

Audie Heikkila, co-owner of the Scio Feed and Country Store, said Nathan often came in to pick up minerals for the cows.

“He was a wonderful kid,” he said. “He is one of those kids everyone wants to see grow up and become an adult. He respected his parents and always did the right thing. This is a real tragedy because his family worked as a unit on the farm, and it takes a whole family to make an operation like that work.”

Arlene Gourley said the message from this tragedy is people need to be more aware and more courteous of farm machinery. They need to respect it.

Nathan is survived also by his father, Jack; brother, Matthew, 21; sisters Rebecca, 14, and Lena, 12; and grandparents Jean Gourley of Lebanon and John and Joanne Pearson of Scio.

Update:

The Oregon House on Wednesday passed a bill enlarging the definition of “vulnerable users of a public way” to include tractors. Representative Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, carried HB2554, which is also referred to as “Nathan’s Law.” It was spurred by the July 28, 2008, death of Nathan Gourley, 16, of Scio, who was driving a haystacker that collided with a log truck on Richardson Gap Road.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski plans to hold a ceremonial bill signing on what’s become known as “Nathan’s Law” soon.

Nathan’s portrait is also on Poster 5