Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office
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Sams Valley traffic patrols
Sams Valley traffic patrols
JCSO to Receive DUII Enforcement Award (Photo) - 04/19/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is being recognized for its efforts toward prevention and enforcement of driving under the influence (DUII) laws.  The Oregon DUII Multi-Disciplinary Training Task Force will present an award for the “2017 DUII Enforcement Agency of the Year”  to JCSO on May 3 , 2018, during a ceremony at their annual conference in Bend. 

Sheriff Nathan Sickler is proud to receive the award:  “It is great to be recognized for the hard work our employees are doing to curb impaired driving. DUII enforcement is a priority for us because it directly affects the safety and wellbeing of our citizens.”   

According to award criteria provided by the task force, agencies selected for recognition have employed an effective DUII enforcement program through focused and pro-active “education, prevention, deterrence, or community involvement.”

In 2017, Jackson County deputies made 320 arrests for DUII.  The total number of arrests represents an increase from previous years – 250 in 2016 and 166 in 2015.  Two deputies on JCSO’s four-person traffic team are dedicated specifically to enforcement of laws related to aggressive, distracted, and impaired driving. 

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office regularly uses traditional and social media to encourage DUII prevention.  JCSO’s public outreach includes frequent messaging aimed at DUII awareness and prevention, especially in rural areas – places where crashes too often prove fatal.  With the change in law regarding recreational marijuana in Oregon, JCSO has also taken an active approach in educating the public regarding the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana.

Sheriff Sickler also recognizes the important role citizens play in DUII prevention and detection.  Citizens are encouraged to intervene if they know somebody who is planning to drive while impaired.  They are also asked to call 911 immediately if they suspect an impaired driver on the road.

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Photo - damage
Photo - damage
One Arrested, One Sought After Crime Spree *UPDATE* (Photo) - 04/18/18

 Update 4/18/18 at 7:25 pm:

The second suspect, Jesse Michael Dornath, has been lodged at the Jackson County Jail. On Wednesday afternoon, a Medford Police officer arrested Dornath for a probation violation detention warrant. A Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy added charges related to the weekend vandalism and burglaries. Additional charges may be added as the investigation continues. 

Original release 4/18/18, at 10:26 am:

MEDFORD, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies have made one arrest in a weekend burglary and vandalism spree.  They are asking for the public’s help in tracking down the second suspect.

On Sunday, April 15, 2018, at 5:28 a.m., deputies responded to an audible business alarm in the 2100-block of Sage Road, Medford.  Responding deputies encountered two men walking nearby.  The men were identified and released at the time because the extent of the incident was not yet known. 

JCSO deputies and officers with the Medford Police Department found at least eight businesses and a vehicle on Sage Road and Lars Way that had been burglarized or vandalized.  The total value of the stolen property and damage is estimated at several thousand dollars.  The general area is at the Medford city limits, leading to the multi-jurisdictional investigation.

After obtaining a description of property stolen by the businesses, deputies were able to connect the items to property possessed by the men contacted during the initial response.  Those suspects were identified as Andrew Kyle Beck, 21, of the first block of Freeman Road, Central Point, and Jesse Michael Dornath, 24, of the 3300-block of Eucalyptus Drive, Medford.

On Tuesday, April 17, deputies located Beck with the assistance of Central Point Police.  They recovered stolen property from Beck’s residence.  Beck was lodged in jail on numerous charges from JCSO and Medford PD.

Deputies are still looking for Dornath.  Anyone with information on Dornath’s whereabouts or the incident in general is asked to call dispatch at (541) 776-7206

Case #18-7358

 

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Suspect photo 2
Suspect photo 2
Deputies Seek to Identify Fraud Suspect (Photo) - 04/18/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. - Deputies are asking for the public's help in identifying a fraud suspect.  The man is suspected of using stolen credit cards at multiple businesses in Rogue River and Grants Pass. 

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, deputies investigated a theft from a vehicle parked at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.  Among the items stolen were two women's purses with cash and credit cards.  The cards were later used at multiple businesses.

Deputies obtained video footage from the businesses.  The attached photos show the suspect using one of the stolen credit cards at the Lil Pantry in Rogue River.  He is described as a heavy set white male in his 30’s or 40’s with a shaved head.  The suspect drives a white and gold early-1990’s model Ford pickup with an extended cab.

Anyone with information can contact Deputy Tom Hohl at (541) 774-6800.  Tips can also be provided through the JCSO website at http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/Safety/Can-you-ID.

Case #18-4352

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Search 4/17/17 photo 3
Search 4/17/17 photo 3
Hardesty Search and Investigation Suspended (Photo) - 04/17/18

ASHLAND, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office officials say the search for an Ashland man missing since April 2017 has been suspended indefinitely.  Based on evidence gathered, investigators believe Harold Hardesty, 87, committed suicide in or near Bear Creek.  His body has not been found despite numerous searches.

Hardesty was reported missing by a family member on April 12, 2017.  Detectives learned he was last seen by friends on the evening of April 9, 2017.  

Surveillance video at Hardesty’s home in the 1200-block of Oak Street, just outside the Ashland city limits, showed Hardesty walking out of his house on the morning of April 10, 2017.  He was carrying a case that appeared to contain a firearm.  Deputies found the case at the edge of Bear Creek, a short walk east of Hardesty’s home.  Hardesty, however, was not located.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue (SAR) teams immediately began searching the area by ground, water, and air with negative results.  Detectives simultaneously conducted a comprehensive investigation, interviewing family and friends and following up on tips. 

Detectives learned Hardesty had dementia and had displayed signs of declining mental health in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.  He had also made efforts to obtain a new firearm.

Searchers have returned several times to search the area, taking advantage of changes in the water level of Bear Creek.  SAR teams have conducted 18 search missions, with 745 person hours.  Costs associated with the search total $15,890.71.

Detectives and search managers have been in close contact with Hardesty’s family since he was reported missing.  Family members share the belief that Hardesty is deceased; they are planning a memorial service for him soon.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or considering suicide, please call the Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Line at (541) 774-8201. Resources are also available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255. 

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Crash scene photo
Crash scene photo
Teen Dies in North Foothill Road Crash *Update* (Photo) - 04/16/18

Update 4/16/18 at 8:20 a.m.: 

Deputies identified the driver in Sunday's fatal crash as Robert Bernard Ernst V, 17, of the 1500-block of Angel Crest Road, Medford.  Ernst was a student at North Medford High School.  The school district has grief counselors on hand today to respond to students' needs. 

Original release, 4/15/18 at 7:30 p.m.: 

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating a single-vehicle crash that claimed the life of a 17-year-old Medford boy on Sunday afternoon.  Deputies say excessive speed contributed to the crash.

Deputies responded to the 4900-block of North Foothill Road on April 15, 2018, at 2:15 p.m.  The driver was the only person in the vehicle, a blue 2010 Toyota Camry.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Witnesses described seeing the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed southbound on North Foothill Road between Corey Road and East Vilas Road.  The vehicle drifted into the oncoming lane, and then veered back across the southbound lane and off the roadway.  The vehicle struck a tree, rolled over, and came to rest on its top at the edge of an orchard. 

An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the location.  The driver’s next of kin have been notified of his death.  His identity will not be released at this time to allow time for additional family members to be notified.

Case #18-7376

Attached Media Files: Crash scene photo
Scene photo
Scene photo
SAR Locates Body of Missing Man *Update* (Photo) - 04/11/18

UPDATE 4/11/18 at 5:00 p.m.:  An autopsy performed Wednesday, April 11, 2018, revealed the death of Richard Allen Ward, Jr. was accidental.  Dr. James Olson, MD, concluded that hypothermia is the likely cause of death.  Visible injuries to Ward's head and limbs indicate Ward suffered at least one fall at ground level; however, the trauma alone was not fatal.

Pending toxicology results will help determine whether intoxicants played a role in Ward's death.  Detectives say evidence of alcohol use was found at the scene. 

Original post 4/11/18 at 10:55 a.m.:

EAGLE POINT, Ore. -- Jackson County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating the death of a Sams Valley man. JCSO search and rescue (SAR) personnel located the body of Richard Allen Ward, Jr. 45, of the 15900-block of Antioch Road, approximately seven hours after he was reported missing Tuesday.

On April 10, 2018, at 7:16 a.m., a woman called dispatch to report Ward was missing. Ward had been driving off-road in an area near Butte Falls Highway and Derby Road over the weekend when his vehicle became stuck in mud. Ward and a friend returned to free the vehicle.

Detectives say Ward's vehicle apparently became stuck in mud a second time while he was attempting to leave the area. Friends and family had been unable to reach Ward by phone after that time.

Deputies and SAR teams responded to the area Tuesday. Many of Ward's family and friends were also in the area assisting with the search.

At approximately 2:10 p.m., a SAR K9 team located Ward's body near a gravel quarry, approximately 1/8-mile from his vehicle. Detectives say Ward had head injuries that appeared to be consistent with a ground level fall.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause and manner of death. An autopsy is planned for today. Ward's family members were notified of his death.

Detectives say the investigation is ongoing, although there is no evidence at this time to suggest foul play. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333. Refer to case #18-6958.

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Attached Media Files: Scene photo
18-6507 - scene
18-6507 - scene
Update: Shady Cove Shooter in Custody (Photo) - 04/05/18

Update: 4/5/18 at 4:10 p.m.:

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives say it appears the man who shot another near Shady Cove did so in self-defense.  However, Kaleb Patrick Harris, 29, still faces criminal charges. 

Harris is lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and menacing.  Harris turned himself in to deputies approximately 13 hours after the shooting early Wednesday morning.

Detectives say just prior to the shooting, Harris and Toby Tyler Bicknell, 37, were involved in a brief verbal altercation when Bicknell charged at Harris.  Harris fired a 9mm handgun at Bicknell; the single round struck Bicknell in the lower abdomen/hip area.  Harris then briefly pointed the gun at another person present, and then fled the scene.

Bicknell remains at Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment for a gunshot wound.  He was cited and released there for a Butte Falls municipal court warrant.  The district attorney's office will review the evidence in the case for charges against both Harris and Bicknell.  

 

Update: 4/4/18 at 12:44 p.m.:

SHADY COVE, Ore. -- Jackson County Sheriff's Office deputies have arrested a man accused of shooting another man early this morning near Shady Cove.  At 12:12 p.m., dispatch received a call from Kaleb Patrick Harris, 29, who said he wanted to turn himself in.  He was located by deputies on Highway 62 near Maple Street in Shady Cove.  Harris was taken into custody without incident.

Specific charges are still pending as detectives continue the investigation.  Anyone with information about the case can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 774-8333.

 

Original release:  4/4/18 at 8:04 a.m.:

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect in a shooting that occurred early Wednesday morning.  On April 4, 2018, at 12:57 a.m., deputies responded to a report of a man shot in the 2500-block of Indian Creek Road, east of Shady Cove.

Deputies arrived to find Toby Tyler Bicknell, 37, a transient in the Shady Cove area, had been shot once in the hip.  Bicknell was transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center by Mercy Flights helicopter.  He is receiving treatment for his injuries at the time of this report. 

Witnesses said the shooting occurred during an altercation between Bicknell and 29-year-old Kaleb Harris, also a transient in the Shady Cove area.  Harris has also been known to frequent the Butte Falls and Trail areas.  Harris is five feet, ten inches tall and weighs approximately 165 pounds.  He has brown hair, brown eyes, and a reddish brown beard.

Detectives have recovered the 9mm handgun used in the incident.  They say there is no apparent threat to the public, but they would like to locate Harris as soon as possible for questioning. 

Anyone with information on Harris’s whereabouts is asked to call dispatch at (541) 776-7206.  Refer to case #18-6507. 

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18-5798 Crash
18-5798 Crash
Eleven Arrested in Spring Break DUII Patrols (Photo) - 04/03/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested eleven impaired drivers during the 2018 Spring Break saturation patrol period.  For ten days - from Friday, March 23, to Sunday, April 1 - deputies focused on rural roadways, including those near recreation areas.  Three of the arrests occurred in one day - Sunday, March 25. 

Three of the 11 drivers arrested were involved in a crash and found to be impaired during the investigation.  The rest were contacted through proactive patrol or during other calls for service. 

Those arrested over spring break included nine men and two women.  Their ages ranged from 25 to 70 years old. 

Ten of the eleven drivers arrested were charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII); the eleventh was a felony DUII charge due to prior convictions.  All of those arrested had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10% or higher; the highest BAC was 0.33%.

Deputies say it’s important to stay alert and call 911 immediately if you suspect an impaired driver on the roadway.  You just may save a life.

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Note: The included photos are of a crash reported on 3/24/18 at 11:07 p.m. in the 700-block of Upper Applegate Road.  The female driver was arrested for DUII.  Case #18-5798

Attached Media Files: 18-5798 Crash , 18-5798 Crash
Ward, James Grayson
Ward, James Grayson
Three Arrested After Robbery (Photo) - 03/30/18

Central Point, Ore – Deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a robbery in Central Point, in the area of Honeytree Lane.  On March 29, 2018 at 8:27 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting the incident. 

 

Three individuals have been lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges including assault, robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. 

 

Deputies report James Ward, 35, of Medford along with Trevor Ettinger, 35, of Medford, and Desiree Conley, 26, of Medford went to the location with the intent of stealing a car.  During a confrontation with the residents, one of the victims was struck in the face with a handgun. 

 

The suspects fled the scene with the stolen vehicle prior to the arrival of deputies.  After a thorough investigation, and assistance from other local law enforcement agencies, all of the suspects were located and arrested. 

 

The investigation is ongoing.

 

Case #18-6138