This closer to what we heard from the ranger who found them last night.
Searchers found a Puyallup man dead, his 4-year-old son critically injured and a truck nearby on its side Tuesday at an off-road vehicle park in East Pierce County.
The boy was flown by helicopter to Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Care Center for treatment. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy on the man, identified as John Layton.
Pierce County sheriff’s investigators were trying to determine what happened at the Evans Creek Off Road Vehicle Park near Carbonado, sheriff’s Sgt. Jerry Bates said.
It was not immediately clear whether the crash – or Layton’s death – was connected to a severe windstorm that whipped through Western Washington late Monday, Bates said. Investigators didn’t know whether the pair spent the night in the truck or outside in the elements.
Layton and his son had been out riding a four-wheeler Monday. The boy’s mother called 911 about 8 p.m. to report that they were overdue, Bates said.
She told the dispatcher she didn’t know where they’d gone. She said it was common for them to go out on the four-wheeler and not return on time.
The woman said she tried to call Layton but couldn’t get through, Bates said.
The mother told the dispatcher she’d call back in the morning if the two had not returned, Bates said.
About 7 a.m. Tuesday, deputies learned that a friend of Layton’s had received a text message about 9 p.m. Monday. In the message, Layton said he had flipped his truck and needed help getting it out, Bates said.
The Sheriff’s Department launched a search. Searchers found the pair about 100 yards from the truck.
It appeared the truck had rolled down a steep, narrow trail, according to East Pierce Fire & Rescue.
“The area where the truck was found is for off-road vehicles,” Bates said. “Why he was out there, we don’t know.”
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268 firstname.lastname@example.org
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