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Troopers detail long search for Rigby man found dead near Highway 20

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Paul Oler | Courtesy photos

IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho State Police are sharing new details into their 11-day search for a Rigby man who died after a rollover crash on Highway 20.

On. Aug. 1, around 10 p.m., 53-year-old Paul Oler rolled his 2012 Chevy Impala near milepost 311 on U.S. Highway 20. When Idaho State Police arrived, Oler was nowhere to be found, and his car was on its top near a canal fence. On Wednesday — about a week and a half later — search and rescue crews as well as family located Oler’s body near the scene of the crash.

“As always, in cases with a profound impact on a family or a community, investigators will thoroughly review each step taken to see what lessons may be learned and applied in the future,” ISP said in a news release. “We live in a community where first responders work closely together with great care for the welfare of those we serve.”

The Idaho Falls Fire Department and Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office began looking for Oler the night of the crash. The fire department lifted its aerial boom ladder with floodlights as emergency responders on the ground checked surrounding fields. Rescuers also used a thermal imager and grid search when looking for Oler.

RELATED | Family asking for help finding man missing for 11 days

Later that night, ISP stopped by the home of Oler twice, but no one appeared to be home. The Rigby Police Department was told of the situation, and on Aug. 6, Oler was entered as a missing person.

Searchers look for the body of Paul Oler on Aug. 12 along U.S. Highway 20. His body was found in the canal about a mile away from the crash. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

On Tuesday morning, troopers went back to the crash scene to search the canal with help from the fire department. More searchers arrived and used four-wheelers and a drone to search the fields.

“Still, the missing driver was not located,” ISP said.

RELATED | Missing man found dead near US Highway 20

On Wednesday, Oler’s family and the Bonneville County Search and Rescue team searched again. Hours of searching led to a body matching that of Oler’s in the canal about a mile downstream from the crash. ISP says the body was found in a section of the canal with swift-moving water, thick brush and cottonwood trees.

Bonneville County Coroner Rick Taylor was then called, and his office removed Oler’s body.

“The Idaho State Police share our sincere condolences with the involved family,” ISP said. “We’re grateful to the work and expertise of the Bonneville County Search and Rescue team and to the Idaho Falls Fire Department and the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office for help in this incident.”

The crash and incident in locating Oler remain under investigation.

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