Local News

OSP Assisted Douglas County SO with Locating Driver in Interstate 5 Chase
The Grants Pass Office of the Oregon State Police assisted the Douglas County Sheriff's Office last weekend with locating a driver involved in an Interstate 5 pursuit that started near Glendale. OSP reports troopers responded to the incident in the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 5 in the Wolf Creek area on Sunday at about 10:30 p.m.. Troopers said the vehicle -- a Jeep Grand Cherokee -- was left abandoned on the freeway after it went south in the northbound lanes while attempting to elude law enforcement. It was unclear in the report if the suspect was arrested. According to OSP, drug paraphernalia that was left in plain sight was seized and submitted for destruction. The suspect vehicle was moved off the freeway and towed to Grants Pass as a hazard.
Posted on 12/12/23 10:42AM by Sam Marsh

Motorist Escaped Injury but Not Citation after I-5 Crash near Sunny Valley
A motorist escaped injury but not a citation after he crashed his vehicle on Interstate 5 in northern Josephine County near Sunny Valley early yesterday. According to the Oregon State Police, troopers and emergency crews responded to the single-vehicle rollover accident in the northbound lanes of I-5 at milepost 73.5 on Monday at 10:18 a.m.. Troopers said 28-year-old Caleb Wood Okelberry was driving a Honda Civic too fast for the conditions and lost control while negotiating a curve. The car left the freeway, struck a ditch and rolled. The driver declined medical attention and his vehicle was towed to his residence at his request. Following an investigation, Okelberry was cited for Violating the Basic Rule.
Posted on 12/12/23 10:41AM by Sam Marsh

GP Police Cited Several Campers and Evicted Some during Park Patrols
Grants Pass Police cited several people for ordinance violations and evicted some of them during patrols of city parks early yesterday. During a patrol check at Westholm Park, officers contacted four men who were reported to be doing drugs in the public restroom. Mark Morales, Justice Cory, Jose Hermosillo, III, and Jose Hermosillo, IV, denied doing drugs and were asked to leave the restroom. Johnny Thavisack was warned for Nuisance Dog. Timothy Wood was cited for Illegal Camping and was trespassed from the park for 30 days. During a patrol check at Riverside Park, Jacob Farias was cited for Scattering Rubbish and Improper Utilization of Park Space. He was issued a park exclusion. During a patrol check at Tussing Park, campers identified as Lawrence, Cecil, Baysinger and Thompson were cited for Illegal Camping after failing to remove their tents upon receiving 72-hour notices. All four were trespassed for 30 days. Donnie Snow was warned for Buffer Zone Violation. During a patrol check at Fruitdale Park, a camper identified as Rich was cited for Marijuana Use, Drug Possession in a Park and Scattering Rubbish. A camper named Galloway was warned for Buffer Zone Violation. During a patrol check at Morrison Centennial Park, John Francis was cited for Illegal Camping after failing to remove his tent and issued a park exclusion. A camper identified as Cook was cited for Illegal Camping and Buffer Zone Violation and he was trespassed. A camper named Smith was cited for Illegal Camping after failing to remove her tent.
Posted on 12/12/23 10:39AM by Sam Marsh

Two GP Teens Jailed for December 3rd Murders of Men at Medford Apartments
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Two Grants Pass teenagers are in custody for the murders of two men at a Medford apartment complex earlier this month. The Medford Police Department reported Monday that two 17-year-old boys from Grants Pass were arrested last weekend and lodged at the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of 2nd-Degree Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder. Because they are juveniles, MPD said the names of the arrestees won't be released. Detectives said during the December 3rd incident at the Charles Point apartment complex on Highgate Street, it is believed that a confrontation broke out over a past disagreement. During the confrontation, shots were fired by multiple parties. Responding officers located two individuals with gunshot wounds and both were transported to a local hospital where they succumbed to their injuries. As released by MPD last week, the homicide victims were identified as 26-year-old Christian Torres of White City and 33-year-old Dontrell Manninen of Medford. The case will be prosecuted by the Jackson County District Attorney's Office and no further information will be released on the case at this time.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:29AM by Sam Marsh
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Tragic Mishap on Interstate 5 near Wolf Creek Claimed Life of Medford Woman
A tragic accident on Interstate 5 in northern Josephine County claimed the life of a Medford woman late last week. The Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to a pedestrian struck by a commercial vehicle in the southbound lanes of I-5 at milepost 75 near Wolf Creek on Friday shortly before 6 p.m.. OSP said a preliminary investigation indicated the victim -- 62-year-old Tami Lee of Medford -- was operating a Kia sedan when she struck an animal and exited her vehicle to check on the animal. That's when she was struck by a Freightliner semi-truck operated by a 65-year-old Elmira man. Lee was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the semi remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. The freeway was closed for about one hour. OSP was assisted at the fatal crash scene by the Wolf Creek Rural Fire Protection District, Rural Metro Fire Department and Oregon Department of Transportation.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:27AM by Sam Marsh
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Deputies Investigating Unrelated Crashes into Trees West of GP Sunday Night
The Josephine County Sheriff's Office was investigating two unrelated crashes when vehicles struck trees west of Grants Pass last weekend -- just 20 minutes apart. On Sunday at 7:02 p.m., Rural Metro Fire Department and American Medical Response were dispatched to an accident in which a pickup struck a tree just off Azalea Drive near Ewe Creek Road. Rural Metro officials said units arrived on scene to find the occupants had fled from the crash, so injuries were unknown. The damaged pickup was towed to Grants Pass. On Sunday at 7:22 p.m., Rural Metro, Grants Pass Fire & Rescue and AMR rushed to the scene of a pickup into a tree on Plumtree Lane near the railroad tracks. Rural Metro said arriving units found the driver significantly injured. Crews used specialized rescue tools to remove the doors and push the dash away to free the driver, who was transported by ambulance to a Medford area trauma hospital. The damaged truck was towed to Grants Pass. In both cases, sheriff's deputies responded to investigate the causes of the crashes.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:19AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Robbery after He Assaulted Employee at Fred Meyer
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for felony robbery after he used physical force in an attempt to steal items from Fred Meyer last weekend. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 37-year-old Joshua Michael Hellyer for the incident at the store on the Grants Pass Parkway on Sunday at 6:36 p.m.. Police said Hellyer passed all points of sale at Fred Meyer with merchandise valued at about $340. He was initially detained by an employee followed by two loss prevention associates. Loss prevention tried to retain their property when the suspect grabbed one of the associates by the throat with his hand and squeezed. The associate's normal breathing was impeded by Hellyer until he let go and fled the scene. The suspect was contacted by police a short time later in the next door parking lot and placed into custody. He reportedly banged his head in the patrol vehicle, but he was not hurt. Joshua Hellyer was lodged at the nearby Josephine County Jail for Felony 3rd-Degree Robbery, 2nd-Degree Theft, Strangulation and Physical Harassment. The stolen merchandise was recovered by Fred Meyer and he was trespassed from the store.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:18AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Man Snared for Trying to Steal from Walmart during Shop with Cop Event
A Grants Pass man could not have picked a worse time to try to steal items from Walmart last weekend. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 27-year-old Spencer Phillip Ryder at the store on NE Terry Lane on Sunday at about 1:20 p.m.. Police said Ryder entered Walmart during the holiday "Shop with a Cop" event when the store was filled with law enforcement helping children select Christmas gifts for their families. They said he selected items valued at $38.96 and went past all points of sale while making no attempt to pay for the merchandise. Needless to say, it didn't take long for police arrive to place Ryder into custody. He was lodged at the nearby adult jail facility for 3rd-Degree Theft. He was also cited for a narcotics violation.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:16AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Streets Staff Busy Responding to Citizen and Motorist Hazard Calls
Grants Pass Streets Division staff have been busy with a variety of tasks comprised of responding to citizen and motorist complaints of hazards. These include sidewalk trip hazards, vision clearance hazards at intersections, repairing and replacing signage, painting curbs and crosswalks, filling potholes, and trimming vegetation from right of ways and alleys. Sidewalk trip hazards are particularly troublesome as they can easily result in injuries and require coordination with adjacent property owners to make repairs. Consistent with city code, it is ultimately the property owner's responsibility to repair heaved or damaged sidewalks. In order to aid in the process, the city has a program available where 50% of the costs can be reimbursed if the requirements of the program are met. For more information about the hazardous sidewalk repair program, visit the city's web page at "grantspassoregon.gov" and search for "sidewalk hazard."
Posted on 12/12/23 6:14AM by Sam Marsh
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Oregon Health Authority Urges Residents to Get Their Vaccinations This Winter Season
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Respiratory virus season is in full swing -- and so is the season for holiday celebrations when viruses are more likely to be spread. According to the Oregon Health Authority, it's not too late to protect yourself and others from severe illness during the holidays by getting vaccinated and to know you'll be protected through the winter when people spend more time socializing indoors. OHA officials said COVID-19 transmission in Oregon has been steady over the past month with a percent positivity of 9.3% for the first week of December. Omicron is still be predominant variant, and no single subvariant has emerged that is predicted to cause more severe disease. The rate of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Oregon is predicted to remain stable into early January. Respiratory syncytial virus -- or RSV -- transmission in Oregon is steadily increasing with a percent positivity of 7.9% for the first week of December. Influenza transmission in Oregon remains low, but it is steadily increasing with a percent positivity of 3.5%. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicts a steady increase in flu-related hospitalizations in Oregon through the first week in January. Everyone six months and older is recommended to get a flu vaccination.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:11AM by Sam Marsh
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Deadline to Sign Up Children for Josephine County Toys for Tots Program is Thursday
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The deadline to sign up for the Josephine County Toys for Tots program is fast-approaching. Pre-registration is required and registrations must be received by this Thursday at the Oregon Department of Human Services office on NW Hawthorne Avenue or by e-mail to "josephine.county.OR@toysfortots.org." Parent Distribution date is Sunday, December 17th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, December 18th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Pavilion Building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds in Grants Pass. One adult from each pre-registered family may select toys for their children, who may not attend. On Giveaway Day, be prepared to show a valid Oregon-issued photo ID and a medical insurance card for each child with birthdate. The toy giveway is for low-income parents and guardians residing in Josephine County or the communities of Rogue River, Wimer and Glendale. Proof of residency is required. The Josephine County Toys for Tots program is sponsored by the US Marine Corps Reserve and locally by the Rogue Valley Young Marines. In 2022, a total of more than 3,880 toys were distributed to over 1,400 local children.
Posted on 12/12/23 6:00AM by Sam Marsh
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Three Rivers School District Invites Community Members to 4 Free Holiday Music Concerts
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The community is invited to join the Three Rivers School District for four festive celebrations of the holiday season. All three Josephine County high schools and one middle school are holding free holiday concerts featuring the incredible talents of their students. Your presence makes a difference and they can't wait to celebrate this joyous season with you. It all starts tonight with a concert at Lorna Byrne Middle School in Cave Junction. On Wednesday, a free concert will be held at North Valley High School at 6741 Monument Drive. That's followed this week with a Thursday concert at Illinois Valley High School at 625 East River Street. Hidden Valley High School will hold its holiday concert next Tuesday night at 651 Murphy Creek Road. Concert start times at all schools is 6 p.m.. Mark your calendars and join the Three Rivers School District for one of four magical evenings with festive music and holiday spirit.
Posted on 12/12/23 5:58AM by Sam Marsh
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