Local News

Woman Wanted with a Secret Indictment for Child Neglect Arrested & Lodged
A suspect wanted on a secret indictment was arrested at the Sheriff’s office Friday afternoon while accompanying another person attempting to get a vehicle release. The Sheriff’s receptionist notified Deputies the suspect and her friend were missing insurance paperwork and returned to a vehicle to retrieve it. In the suspect’s absence the warrant was confirmed, and the receptionist was to notify deputies upon her return. At 4:16 p.m. the suspect, 27-year-old Kelcey Dawn Stevenson returned to the lobby and was detained, arrested and lodged in the county jail facing a charge of 1st degree child neglect with her bail set at $50,000.
Posted on 12/30/23 6:16AM by Chuck Benson

Deputies Lodge Suspect for Gun Assault
A Josephine County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested a suspect following an alleged assault with a gun. The Sheriff’s incident log begins at 3:20 Friday afternoon in the 2300 block of Upper River Road when 44-year-old Jose Luis Rivera was taken into custody. Details remain sketchy but the incident narrative stated the victim had a laceration on the side of his head which the victim said, and witnesses corroborated, Rivera hit him over the head with a gun. Rivera is being charged with menacing-aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon-aggravated assault and assault II-aggravated assault. The Sheriff’s log stated the same charges would be referred for Rivera’s brother, who was not specifically mentioned in the narrative.
Posted on 12/30/23 5:57AM by Chuck Benson

Start the Year with a Free Guided Hike through Local Parks on the 1st.
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You are invited to begin the new year with an outdoor Oregon experience being guided through some of this state’s beautiful countryside by park rangers and volunteers through the free First Day Hikes courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department on Monday, January First. Visitors have three hikes to choose from in the Grants Pass, Central Point and Cave Junction areas: Valley of the Rogue State Park, Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside and TouVelle State Recreation Site. The Valley of the Rogue hike is two miles while the other two are one mile. All three local hikes begin at 11 a.m. Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing. The $5 day-use parking fee is waived that day for all state parks that require a parking permit and are open.First Day Hikes is a national initiative to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, promote exercise and encourage connecting with nature. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has participated since 2012. For more information, 541-582-1118.
Posted on 12/30/23 5:38AM by Chuck Benson

Enhanced Patrols Planned for Josephine County New Year’s Eve
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The Oregon State Police is partnering with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and Grants Police Department to increase patrols on New Year’s Eve throughout Josephine County. This is a high priority holiday, as Josephine County has experienced higher than normal rates of intoxicated drivers over New Year’s Eve in the past. Officers, deputies, and troopers will be focusing on DUII and other Fatal-5 violations that are statistically shown to contribute to serious injury and fatal crashes. In 2023 alone, State Troopers arrested more than 2,657 suspects for DUII statewide. This is up 2.5 percent from 2022 with 2,593 arrests. In 2023, OSP has arrested approximately 355 suspects for DUII in Josephine and Jackson counties with 200 arrests in Jackson County and 155 arrests in Josephine County. Station commanders in southern Oregon have shared that impaired driving has become a prolific problem in the region. They are asking for the public’s help in reducing impaired driving to keep Oregonians safe while traveling this holiday season.
Posted on 12/30/23 5:35AM by Chuck Benson
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Failure to Perform Field Sobriety Tests Sends Driver to Sobering Center
A white Chevrolet C25 was stopped by a State Trooper at the intersection of Merlin Road and Ort Lane early this morning for multiple traffic violations. When contacted by the Trooper, the driver displayed signs of impairment and then refused to perform field sobriety tests. He was then arrested for driving under the influence, transported to the hospital where a search warrant for a blood test was applied for, granted and executed. The driver, now identified as 27-year-old Tristen Scott Durazo, was transported to the sobering center where he was criminally cited and released to the Center’s staff.
Posted on 12/29/23 9:55AM by Chuck Benson
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Axe Wielding Suspect Jailed for Disorderly Conduct
An axe wielding man was jailed Thursday afternoon when officers responded to a 911 call reporting a knife fight. A 12:51 Thursday afternoon a woman passing by the Thrift Store south of the Caveman Bridge called 911 to report seeing an unarmed man trying to approach another man armed with a knife and the armed man began swinging the blade at the approaching man. A second caller reported the armed man was holding an axe. The arriving officer initially detained three men, eventually releasing two and arresting 50-year-old Antwone Leon Williams. Williams was identified by two witnesses as the man wielding the axe and trying to fight an unidentified subject. Williams denied anything other than holding the axe saying he had nowhere to carry it.
Posted on 12/29/23 9:17AM by Chuck Benson
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Tis the Season to Drive Sober, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
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It’s hard to have a happy holiday when you’re arrested for drunk driving. Keep the season merry and bright by following the law and refusing to drink and drive. During this busy winter holiday season, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming with the Grants Pass Police Department to urge drivers to think twice before drinking and driving. Drivers will see officers working on a special high-visibility enforcement campaign through January 1, 2024, to spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving. Tragically, December can be a dangerous time for people on the roads. During the 2017-2021 December months, there were more than 4,500 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. More parties and festivities celebrating the season bring out more drunk drivers.
Posted on 12/29/23 4:42AM by Chuck Benson
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Free Guided First Day Hikes at Three Southern Oregon Locations.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with America’s State Parks for free guided First Day Hikes in state parks on New Year’s Day, Monday, Jan. 1. Visitors have three hikes to choose from in the Grants Pass, Central Point and Cave Junction areas: Valley of the Rogue State Park, Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside and TouVelle State Recreation Site. If you have questions about access or to request any reasonable accommodations needed for your participation in these hikes, please contact Park Ranger Rudy Ordonez, 541-659-1463 by close of business today.
All three local hikes begin at 11 a.m. Dogs are welcome on six-foot leashes. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and snacks, as well as a camera or binoculars for wildlife viewing.The $5 day-use parking fee is waived that day for all state parks that require a parking permit and are open.
Posted on 12/29/23 4:40AM by Chuck Benson
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Speeding Driver Jailed after Citation and Peel-Out
An unhappy driver was jailed following Trooper’s contact with the driver’s probation officer. A State Trooper stopped a Ford Ranger for speeding on Pinecrest Drive Wednesday at 12:36 p.m. According to the Trooper’s report the driver was argumentative and agitated. He was issued a citation for speed and release. The Driver, 37-year-old Jameson Brandt Vischer, then broke traction his rear tires at the intersection of Plumtree Lane and Camp Joy Road, prompting the Trooper to contact Vischer’s probation officer who placed a verbal detainer on him. The Trooper proceeded to lodge Vischer in the County Jail. The Ford Ranger was picked up by his girlfriend at his request.
Posted on 12/28/23 10:45AM by Chuck Benson
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High Levels of Flu Virus Circulating in Jackson County
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Jackson County Public Health Officials have declared that influenza activity level is high and circulating widely in Jackson County. Currently, Southern Oregon has the highest flu test positivity rate in Oregon. Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness have increased in Jackson County. All age groups are being seen in the emergency department for influenza-like illness; there has been a sharp increase in the number of children 17 years and younger in the emergency departments for influenza-like illness. It is important to note that the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Posted on 12/28/23 10:28AM by Chuck Benson
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Active Warrant Sends Flying Lark Camper to Jail
A late-night report of a man in the area of the empty Flying Lark building at the Fairgrounds earns Grants Pass Police attention. The first report to 911 came at one minute to eleven Wednesday night stating the sighting of man carrying box inside a gated area. Arriving Officers contacted 49-year-old Sean William MacDowell found sleeping under the covered area. MacDowell’s information was run through the city’s dispatch and a valid and serviceable warrant returned so the arrest was conducted, and MacDowell was lodged in the County Jail. The warrant returned on a failure to appear charge for a theft III-shoplifting charge levied on May 25th. MacDowell was also arrested on July 21st for disorderly conduct II.
Posted on 12/28/23 10:03AM by Chuck Benson
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Driver Jailed on No-Bail Warrant Plus Reckless Driving and DUII Charges
A wild trip to the hospital Wednesday night earned the driver at least a week’s stay in the crowbar hotel. A 911 call at 9:33 p.m. alerted authorities to a reckless driver and concern for the female passenger. The caller reported being passed on the Redwood Highway by a white four door Toyota Camry at a very high rate of speed. The caller thought it had broken down when she passed it at the weigh station, but the Camry again passed her, passed the light at Taco Bell, miss judged a turn and spun out. The caller stopped and asked if everything was okay and the response from the male driver was “I hope so.” The caller followed the Camry to the hospital after observing the female passenger that did not seem to be very alert. A call from hospital security stated they were with the man and woman in the parking lot neat the hospital cafeteria. The man was heard on the phone saying, “you told me to bring her to the hospital, now what do I do with her?”Responding officer contacted the driver, 27-year-old Luke Wyatt Mulligan, and took him into custody. Mulligan demonstrated impairment and admitted to drinking while driving and exceeding speeds over 100 miles per hour. He consented to field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUII and reckless driving.
It was determined Mulligan also had a no bail warrant from the Josephine County Sheriff’s office active. He remains in custody.
Posted on 12/28/23 9:34AM by Chuck Benson
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