A Redmond middle school principal died Friday when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on Highway 26, Oregon State Police reported.
John Kevin Hartford, 54, of Redmond, principal at Elton Gregory Middle School, died around 5:25 p.m. Friday at the scene at milepost 52 near the Crook and Wheeler counties line, according to police. Police identified Hartford today.
State police Sgt. Mike Turner in a news release reported Hartford’s eastbound 2008 Yamaha was taking a curve when it struck a guardrail and Hartford was thrown from the bike. Passing motorists found Hartford along the highway and started first aid until relieved by paramedics and firefighters from Mitchell Fire Department and Crook County Fire and Rescue.
Hartford was wearing a helmet; the OSP investigation of the crash is underway, state police reported.
The Redmond School District, in a prepared statement today, said it mourns Hartford’s loss. He became Gregory principal in 2009 after three years as principal at M.A. Lynch Elementary School.
“All who encountered John admired his courage, honesty, and unwavering love for the students and staff of Elton Gregory Middle School and the Redmond School District," according to the school district announcement.
The district said counseling and support through the Tri-County Crisis Response Team and the school district counseling staff would be available during the coming days and weeks.
“This is a tremendous loss for all of us in Redmond, not just our school district, but the entire community," said Redmond schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh. “John was an outstanding educator and a good man. He will be missed. Our prayers are with his family."
A candlelight vigil in Hartford’s memory is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at Powell Butte Christian Church, 13720 state Route 126, Powell Butte. A memorial service will follow at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Ridgeview High School auditorium, 4555 S.W. Elkhorn Ave., Redmond.