Local News

75 Motor Vehicle Crashes on Highway 62 Sparked Saturation Patrol Effort
Law enforcement agencies from throughout the region are participating in a joint saturation patrol on a dangerous section of Highway 62 this weekend. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports the coverage area is primarily Highway 62 from the Big X intersection in north Medford to Shady Cove. So far this year, there have been 75 motor vehicle crashes on this section of Highway 62. These crashes led to 18 injuries and three fatalities. This joint operation is funded by a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The operation is focusing on the enforcement of the Oregon State Police's "Fatal Five," which is Speed, Occupant Safety, Lane Usage, Impaired Driving and Distracted Driving. These categories of traffic violations have been proven to be the primary contributors to serious injury and fatal crashes. Law enforcement agencies participating include the Sheriff's Office and OSP as well as the Medford, Central Point, Phoenix and Eagle Point police departments.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:35AM by Sam Marsh

September was Declared National Preparedness Month for Emergencies
Oregonians are experiencing more frequent wildfires, floods, heat domes, high winds, and ice and snowstorms on an annual basis. These events coupled with the ever-present threat of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami, underscore the need for people to be ready for such disasters. As September ends today, there's a reminder the month was declared "National Preparedness Month" by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) to raise awareness about planning for the unexpected before it happens. ODEM Interim Director Matt Garrett said disasters can happen anywhere without warning, so it's imperative Oregonians take active steps to prepare in advance. He said sit down with your household and talk about what you would do if you lost electricity, water, internet and phone service for weeks -- that's how long it could take for help to reach you if transportation routes are blocked. ODEM urges every Oregonian to practice preparedness by having an emergency plan and enough food, water and necessary supplies for everyone in the household -- including pets -- to survive for at least two weeks following any large-scale disaster. For recommended emergency kit items, visit "ready.gov" or the American Red Cross.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:30AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Department Welcomes New Officer Gabby Turner to the Team
The Grants Pass Police Department has welcomed a new officer to the team -- and she's a hometown girl. Police Chief Warren Hensman presided over the swearing-in ceremony this week when Officer Gabby Turner officially took the oath of office. Officer Turner most recently served Grants Pass residents as a Community Service Officer with the police agency. Gabby will leave for the Oregon State Police Academy in Salem in December, but she will begin her training in Grants Pass. Turner is a Grants Pass High School graduate and she earned an associate degree from Rogue Community College. She said she chose a career in law enforcement because she aspires to make a positive change in people's lives. She added that she finds community policing to make a huge impact on children and she wants to help kids stay on the right path. Chief Hensman said he looks forward to great successes in Officer Gabby Turner's future at the Grants Pass Police Department.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh

SOCET Interagency Task Force Sweep Jails 5 Suspects for Encouraging Child Sex Abuse
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The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint interagency task force arrested five separate suspects yesterday on a total of 42 felony charges of encouraging child sex abuse. According to SOCET, investigations led the task force throughout the Rogue Valley including addresses in Medford, Central Point and Grants Pass. Total felony charges included 32 counts of 1st-Degree Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse, 10 counts of 2nd-Degree Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse, 16 counts of 1st-Degree Invasion of Personal Privacy and one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. The first arrest came when SOCET received a tip that a suspect was leaving his residence in the 60-block of Jeanette Avenue in Medford. The task force located and arrested 60-year-old Steven Wesley Rambo. Next, the task force located a suspect's vehicle near his residence in the 20-block of Washington Street in Medford. The task force arrested 45-year-old Michael David Robertson. The task force then located and arrested 40-year-old David Anthony Pierce at his residence in the 1,000-block of NE Morgan Lane in Grants Pass. A cyber tip led investigators to his former residence on North River Road in Rogue River where numerous child exploitation images had been uploaded.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:25AM by Sam Marsh
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Grants Pass Police and Adapt Launch New Partnership for Drug Overdose Prevention
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As National Recovery Month comes to a close today, the Grants Pass Police Department and Adapt Integrated Health Care are pleased to announce the start of a crucial new partnership. This collaboration in the City of Grants Pass aims to combat drug and alcohol addiction, prevent overdoses and connect individuals to substance abuse disorder agencies. Here's how it works: When a 9-1-1 call is made for a suspected drug overdose, Adapt Integrated Health Care's "Recovery Mentors" will be alerted as police officers and medical personnel are dispatched. After ensuring the area is secure, police officers will attempt to facilitate a "warm handoff" to the recovery mentors. Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman said this approach underscores the department's commitment to supporting individuals battling substance abuse disorders by actively promoting access to addiction recovery services. In 2022, Grants Pass police officers, firefighters and emergency services responded to a total of 96 overdose calls, with 11 resulting in suspected overdose deaths. This year, they have already addressed 137 overdoses with 14 suspected overdose deaths, emphasizing the urgency and importance of this new partnership.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:23AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Sheriff's Office Cancels All Evacuation Levels in the Illinois Valley
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The Josephine County Sheriff's Office has removed all evacuation levels related to the Smith River Complex throughout the Illinois Valley. Widespread rain throughout southwest Oregon this week prompted state and federal land managers to reduce local fire danger levels to their lowest point since last spring. But it also slowed down the suppression efforts on local wildfires. Members of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team are assessing road systems and severely burned areas to determine emergency stabilization actions needed to prevent further damage to life, property and natural resources. With deer season starting on October 7th, hunters and recreationists alike are eager to regain access to areas currently under fire closures. Fire managers are working closely with US Forest Service staff to re-evaluate current closures and look for opportunities to reopen them as soon as safely possible for firefighters and citizens.
Posted on 9/30/23 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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California Man Cited for Causing Redwood Highway Crash in the Illinois Valley
A California motorist was cited for causing a crash on Redwood Highway in the Illinois Valley yesterday. The Oregon State Police reports troopers and emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle wreck on US Highway 199 at milepost 23 near Eight Dollar Mountain Road on Thursday at 12:25 p.m.. Troopers said 61-year-old Kevin Loren Orcutt of Hoopa was driving a Chevrolet Silverado when he approached a construction zone and rear-ended a Dodge Ram 5500 driven by 47-year-old Timothy Matthew Riordan of Grants Pass. Riordan was pulling a utility trailer behind his pickup and had stopped for a flagger. According to OSP, the Chevrolet ran into the back of the trailer at high speed, causing it to go vertical and land on its nose. No injuries were reported, but the Silverado and trailer sustained heavy damage and were towed to Cave Junction. Following an investigation, Orcutt was cited for Following Too Closely and Careless Driving. In Oregon, fines automatically double for violations that take place in a designated construction zone.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:36AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Cited Driver for Causing South Y Crash that Sent Her to the Hospital
Grants Pass Police cited a driver for causing at crash near the South Y Intersection that sent her to the hospital yesterday. The Police Department reports officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to the two-vehicle collision at the intersection of the Grants Pass Parkway and Rogue River Highway on Thursday at about 1:30 p.m.. Police said witnesses stated that Alexis Williams was driving Hyundai Sante Fe when she ran a red light at the intersection and collided with a Toyota Highlander driven by Travis Houglum. According to the report, Williams was transported by ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center for treatment of unspecified injuries while Houglum was not hurt. Both vehicles sustained significant damage and were towed from the crash scene. Following an investigation, officers cited Williams at the hospital for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:35AM by Sam Marsh
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IV Man Jailed for Vandalism and Theft after Stealing Diesel Fuel from Neighbor
An Illinois Valley man was jailed for vandalism and theft after he broke into a diesel trailer and stole fuel from a neighbor. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office reports 23-year-old Samuel Lee Yost was arrested on Thursday morning for the incident in the 900-block of Crooks Creek Road near Selma. Deputies said the property owner called 9-1-1 early yesterday to report someone siphoned fuel from the trailer overnight and damaged it while doing so. They said they were familiar with Yost and his residence is located next to the crime scene. Upon contact with Yost, deputies located three fuel cans without lids that were topped off with diesel. The suspect provided inconsistent statements about his involvement in the heist and he was placed into custody. Samuel Yost was transported to Grants Pass and lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Felony 1st-Degree Criminal Mischief and 2nd-Degree Theft. The stolen diesel fuel was returned to his neighbor.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:34AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Collared Fugitive and Evicted Several Campers during Park Patrols
Grants Pass Police apprehended a local fugitive and evicted several campers for various violations during city park patrols yesterday. The Police Department reports officers contacted and arrested 25-year-old Liam Tate Billings during a walk-thru patrol of Morrison Centennial Park on Thursday at 7:11 p.m.. Police said they observed Billings sitting on a concrete fire pit at the park with fentanyl paraphernalia and in a partial state of consciousness. They discovered that he was wanted on a Jackson County felony warrant for Probation Violation related to a previous arrest for 1st-Degree Theft. He was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia during a consent search. Liam Billings was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on a no-bail detainer. He was also cited to appear in court for the narcotics violations. Earlier in the day, officers posted 35 campsites at Riverside Park. Shelly West, Andrew Urenda, Kassi Sinks, Braylyn McElmurry, James Redden and Anna Newell were cited for various ordinance violations. All six were trespassed from the park for 30 days. Officers picked up trash for disposal and returned several shopping carts to their places of origin.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:32AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Nabbed Man for Old and New Theft Crimes after Home Depot Incident
Grants Pass Police arrested a man on old and new theft charges after he was caught trying to steal merchandise from Home Depot last night. The Police Department reports officers responded to a shoplifting call involving 46-year-old Damien Demetrius Scissom at the home improvement store located in the 100-block of NE Mill Street on Thursday at 8:04 p.m.. Police said Scissom was detained by loss prevention after he concealed more than $300 worth of merchandise and passed all points of sale without paying for the items. They said he was cooperative and admitted his actions were wrong. A routine records check revealed that Scissom was wanted on a Grants Pass warrant for failing to appear in court for Petty Theft. He was also found to be in possession of a credit card belonging to another man. Damien Scissom was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant plus a new charge of 2nd-Degree Theft. A charge of credit card theft was referred to the District Attorney's Office for consideration.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:30AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Snared Woman for Strange Behavior on Upper River Road West of GP
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office arrested a woman for her allegedly strange behavior about five miles west of Grants Pass yesterday. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies responded at noon Thursday to multiple reports of a female subject stumbling down the road. She was last seen sitting in a ditch near the intersection of Upper River Road and Azalea Drive Cutoff. Deputies arrived on scene and contacted 59-year-old Marjorie Rose Anderson who kept walking away from them. She was eventually detained in the 5,000-block of Upper River Road and placed into custody. No explanation was provided for Anderson's unusual behavior, but she was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for Disorderly Conduct.
Posted on 9/29/23 11:29AM by Sam Marsh
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