Man dies in crash down 40-foot embankment

FLORENCE, Ore. -- A 23-year-old died and his female passenger was injured early Friday morning when police say the man drove off the Upper North Fork Road, down a 40-foot embankment and into a creek.

State police officials said Ronald Catalfamo Jr., 23 of Florence, was driving his Toyota Tacoma southbound on the Upper North Fork Road when the pickup left the roadway at milepost 15.

The Toyota went about 40 feet down an embankment before stopping on its side in a creek, crash investigators reported.

Responding troopers said a female passenger, later identified as Nichole Wells, 21 of Florence, climbed back up the embankment and got help from a passing driver at around 3 a.m. Friday.

Emergency responders pronounced Catalfamo dead at the scene, he was not wearing a seat belt..

Wells was taken to Peace harbor Hospital in Florence and was treated for minor injuries. Crash investigators believe she was wearing her seat belt when the pickup crashed.

State police investigators are still looking into what caused Catalfamo to leave the roadway.