Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Crash scene file photo
Crash scene file photo
Deputies Begin Holiday DUII Patrols (Photo) - 12/12/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies will be conducting saturation patrols through the holiday season to stop impaired drivers.  From Thursday, December 13, 2018, through New Year's Eve, deputies will focus their patrols on rural roadways in an effort to spot drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  

Grant funding allows JCSO to put extra deputies on the road to specifically enforce impaired driving laws without taking away from response to normal calls for service.  It is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“This time of year, many people will be attending holiday parties and events,” said JCSO Sergeant Julie Denney.  “The last thing we want to see is a celebration turned into a tragedy because somebody made the choice to drive while impaired.”

Deputies say prevention is the key -- plan ahead to avoid driving while impaired:

  • DRINK OR DRIVE: Once you know where you'll celebrate, decide whether you're drinking or driving – choose only one and stick to it.
  • WEED WARNING: Even though the recreational use of marijuana is legal for adults in Oregon, it is not legal (or safe) to drive while impaired by the drug.
  • GETTING AROUND: Before you get to the party, know how you’re getting home. If you're the designated driver, don't drink. If you're impaired and your ride falls through, use a taxi or rideshare service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • PASSENGERS, TOO: Drivers aren't the only ones at risk. Only accept a ride from a sober driver.
  • HELP A FRIEND: If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, help them to make other transportation arrangements or offer them a place to stay.
  • SAY SOMETHING: If you suspect an impaired driver on the roadway, call police immediately. It is okay to call 911 to make a report.

For more information on the NHTSA Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, go to the NHTSA website at https://www.nhtsa.gov/es/drunk-driving/holiday-season-drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over .

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Attached Media Files: Crash scene file photo
Kepsel rescue reunion 2
Kepsel rescue reunion 2
SAR Finds Missing Snowboarder Alive *Final Update* (Photo) - 12/11/18

Update 12/11/18 at 3:00 p.m. (Final) –

ASHLAND, Ore. – A Medford man who spent two nights in the elements on Mt. Ashland was found alive Tuesday morning.  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) officials say snowboarder Eli Kepsel, 27, was cold but in good spirits when rescuers found him just before 10:30 a.m. on December 11, 2018.

“This is the best outcome we could have hoped for,” said JCSO Sergeant Shawn Richards.

A SAR team from Klamath County was patrolling US Forest Service Road 2060 north of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area when Kepsel appeared from the hillside above the road.  Kepsel was cold and hungry, but he was able to walk and talk to rescuers. 

The SAR team provided Kepsel with food and water and brought him to a waiting ambulance operated by Ashland Fire & Rescue.  Kepsel was reunited with his parents, and then transported to Rogue Regional Medical Center to be evaluated for hypothermia.

Kepsel’s mother reported him missing to JCSO on Monday, December 10, when he didn’t return from a snowboarding trip the day before.  Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members checked the ski area parking lot and found Kepsel’s vehicle was still parked there.  They began searching for Kepsel while SAR was activated.

Deputies learned the last confirmed sighting of Kepsel was Sunday afternoon at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.  Search teams located some tracks in the snow beyond the boundary of the ski area, but it was not immediately known whether Kepsel made those tracks.

One particular set of tracks in the snow provided searchers with Kepsel’s likely direction of travel.  But as the tracks descended in elevation, a lack of snow made them more difficult to follow.  

The search effort was mainly conducted on the ground with teams of hikers scouring likely travel routes through the forested terrain.  Brim Aviation provided air support on both days, searching by helicopter despite less than favorable weather conditions.  There is no cell phone service on the back side of Mount Ashland, which limits the use of technology to locate people who go missing there. 

Kepsel would later tell rescuers that he heard sounds made by searchers, including sirens and a helicopter, but he was disoriented and he was not able to signal back.  Kepsel was not prepared to spend the night in the backcountry.  He said he sheltered beneath the tree canopy each night.

Sergeant Shawn Richards said a search effort of this scale would not have been possible without help from other agencies. 

“Just as they can count on us to help, we count on them to be ready and able to come here when we have a difficult search,” said Richards.

JCSO received assistance from search and rescue personnel from the following counties:  Josephine, Klamath, Douglas, and Siskiyou (Calif.).  Chaplains from Southern Oregon Public Safety Chaplains were on hand to support volunteers and Kepsel’s family members throughout the search. 

SAR officials recently offered some tips for safety during winter recreation.  The article can be found on the JCSO website: http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/News/sar-offers-tips-for-snow-safety-photo .

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Update 12/11/18 at 10:45 a.m.

SAR has located missing snowboarder Eli Kepsel alive.  He is speaking with rescuers and is en route to receive medical attention for mild hypothermia.  More information regarding the search and rescue effort will be released later today.

Update 12/11/18 at 9:30 a.m.

ASHLAND, Ore. - Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) teams continue the search for the missing snowboarder on Mt. Ashland Tuesday morning. The search effort was scaled-back overnight for safety reasons, but teams were able to checked likely travel routes and roadways looking for any sign of Eli Kepsel.

The last confirmed sighting of Kepsel was Sunday afternoon at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.  Search teams have located some tracks in the snow beyond the boundary of the ski area, but it is not known whether Kepsel made those tracks.  Because of the relatively high snow level, much of the ground in the search area is bare, presenting fewer opportunities for visual tracking.  

No further information is available at this time.

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Original release, 12/10/18:

ASHLAND, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) teams are searching for a missing snowboarder.  Eli Kepsel, 27, went to Mt. Ashland on Sunday morning and has not returned. 

On Monday, December 10, 2018, at 9:26 a.m., a family member called to report Kepsel was missing.  Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members found Kepsel’s vehicle was still parked at the ski area.

SAR staff and volunteers are actively checking likely routes on the mountain beyond the ski area.  SAR staff would like to hear from anyone who may have seen Kepsel since Sunday morning in order to help focus the search. 

Kepsel’s snowboard has a blue bottom and his coat is a bright yellow-green color.  He is five feet, nine inches tall and weighs 165 pounds.  He has brown hair and brown eyes. 

If you have information that can aid searchers, please call dispatch at (541) 776-7206.  Refer to case #18-25711.

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Pike, Bohn
Pike, Bohn
JCSO Employees, Citizen Recognized by OSSA (Photo) - 12/10/18

BEND, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) employees and a citizen were presented with awards for outstanding service to the community at the 2018 Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA) conference on December 5, 2018.  The recipients include two detectives, two deputies, and a local river guide.

An OSSA committee chose the winners from a pool of state-wide nominees.  The following people were nominated by JCSO peers or supervisors for recognition during the annual awards ceremony:

  • DEPUTY OF THE YEAR – Detective Steven Bohn

Detective Steven Bohn is assigned to the JCSO Special Victims Unit, investigating crimes including child abuse, sexual assault, and elder abuse.  Last year, Detective Bohn investigated 150 cases, showing an unwavering dedication to seek justice for the most vulnerable citizens in our community.  In a nomination letter, Captain Tim Snaith said Detective Bohn’s “work ethic provides inspiration for others and sheds a positive light on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.”  Detective Bohn has previously earned recognition from the Rogue Valley Coalition of Child Abuse and Prevention, and as a Jackson County Employee of the Month.

  • MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD – Detective Timothy Pike

Detective Timothy Pike was recognized for his competence and compassion as a long-time investigator for the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office.  Eighteen of Detective Pike’s 23 years with JCSO have been spent as a death investigator.  His position requires him to coordinate important information with multiple agencies while keeping in touch with friends and family members who have lost a loved one.  Detective Pike shares his vast knowledge and experience by providing death investigation training to JCSO deputies and other law enforcement officers.  He is a unique and resilient person whose diligence benefits many people in our community.

  • LIFE SAVING AWARD – Deputy Cody Fuhrman and Deputy Steven Sagert

On May 11, 2018, Deputy Cody Fuhrman and Steven Sagert saved the life of an inmate who attempted suicide. The inmate was being escorted to a new cell when he dove head-first through a safety railing on the upper level.  Deputy Fuhrman caught the inmate’s leg as he dangled over the edge.  Deputy Sagert ran upstairs to help.  The deputies were able to pull the inmate back to safety, despite the his active resistance.  Following the incident, the inmate received medical and mental health treatment at the jail. 

  • LIFE SAVING AWARD – Jon Geyer, Citizen/Oregon Guide (not able to attend awards ceremony)

On August 5, 2018, a couple rafting the Rogue River found themselves in a life-threatening situation downstream of Dodge Bridge.  One of their catamaran-style rafts capsized when the current forced the operator into trees along the bank.  She was wearing a life jacket, but was left clinging to branches, trapped by the force of the river current.  Her husband was unable to free her from the tree, but he helped to keep her head above water.  About ten minutes later, a jet boat piloted by Jon Geyer, an Oregon Guide, came by.  Geyer immediately noticed the couple was in trouble.  He beached his boat, which carried about ten passengers on a fishing trip, and retrieved emergency gear.  Guyer threw a tethered life ring to the woman.  As her husband pulled branches apart to allow her to float away, Geyer guided her out into the current and pulled her to safety.  If not for the actions of her husband and Mr. Geyer, the boater may have lost her life that day.

For more information about the OSSA awards and other programs, visit https://oregonsheriffs.org/ .

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Attached Media Files: Pike, Bohn , Sagert, Fuhrman
Adams Rd Crash Scene
Adams Rd Crash Scene
Deputies Investigate Two Fatal Crashes Saturday (Photo) - 12/10/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Two Jackson County men died in separate crashes not far from their homes Saturday.  A Talent man died Saturday morning in a single-vehicle crash on Adams Road.  A Medford man died Saturday night in a single-vehicle crash on West Griffin Creek Road.

On December 8, 2018, at 9:17 a.m., a passer-by reported finding a vehicle crashed near the intersection of Adams Road and Beeson Lane (Case #18-25595).  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies say the vehicle had apparently failed to negotiate a curve at the intersection, left the roadway, and overturned on an embankment.  The roadway was wet at the time of the investigation, however deputies do no know if weather or roadway factors contributed to the crash.

The driver, Jacob Daniel Hayes, 38, of the 7300-block of Adams Road, died at the scene.  There were no other occupants.  Deputies were assisted by personnel from Fire District #5, Talent Police, and Phoenix Police. 

On the same date at 11:54 p.m., JCSO deputies responded to a single-vehicle crash in the 3500-block of West Griffin Creek Road (Case #18-25635).  Deputies say the westbound vehicle, a 2004 Chevy Silverado, crossed the oncoming lane, left the roadway, and rolled after it struck an embankment.  Deputies noted the roadway was icy in the area.

The driver, Scott Charles White, 33, of the 5400-block of West Griffin Creek Road, died at the scene.  There were no other occupants.  Personnel from Medford Fire responded to the scene to complete extrication.

In each case, an investigator from the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to investigate the cause and manner of death.  Toxicology analysis, a routine procedure in fatal motor vehicle crashes, will be conducted to determine whether intoxicants contributed to the incidents.  Notifications have been made to the next-of-kin in both cases.

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Attached Media Files: Adams Rd Crash Scene
No Shave Nov. 2018
No Shave Nov. 2018
"No Shave November" Funds Go to Suicide Awareness Campaign (Photo) - 12/03/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) employees have collected more than $2,300 in their "No Shave November" fundraiser.  The money raised will be presented to the United Way of Jackson County to help with suicide prevention efforts.

“While growing facial hair seems like a light-hearted way to raise money, we are keenly aware of the impact suicide has in our community,” said JCSO Sergeant Julie Denney.  “Deputies see the devastation caused by suicide, but more often, they have the opportunity to help people experiencing a crisis to connect with the help they need.” 

Donations raised by JCSO employees during their 2017 No Shave November fundraiser went toward the initial production of videos for the United Way “Shatter the Silence” campaign.  This year’s donation will help to keep the campaign going.

“These dollars will extend our ‘Shatter the Silence’ suicide prevention campaign,” said Dee Anne Everson, Executive Director of the United Way of Jackson County.  “The No Shave November efforts from the employees of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is just one more way they save lives!” 

JCSO deputies on patrol and in the jail work closely with mental health professionals during crisis situations.  The No Shave November fundraiser creates an opportunity to bring added attention to suicide awareness, and to remind people of the services available in Jackson County. 

According to Jackson County Mental Health Crisis and Outpatient Services Manager Rick Rawlins, there are many potential warning signs that a person is considering suicide.  Among them are the following:  the person talks about wanting to die; the person feels hopeless or overwhelmed; the person shows noticeable changes in mood or withdraws from others.

Intervention is the key to helping someone who may be considering suicide.  As recommended in the “Shatter the Silence” campaign, Rawlins says if you know someone who is showing warning signs, it’s best to be direct and “ask the question: ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’”

Rawlins says it’s important to listen to the person and allow them to express what is occurring.  It’s also a good idea to temporarily remove access to firearms - a potentially lifesaving action.

Several resources are available locally to people in crisis, or to people who are concerned about someone else:

  • 911 – call for help immediately if a person is actively threatening suicide
  • Jackson County Mental Health
    • Crisis Center, 140 S. Holly St. – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., walk-in hours
    • 24/7 Crisis Line, (541) 774-8201
    • Crisis Text Line, 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255

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Attached Media Files: No Shave Nov. 2018
Fitzgerald booking photo - 11/28/18
Fitzgerald booking photo - 11/28/18
DUII Suspected in Hit-and-Run Crash (Photo) - 11/29/18

WHITE CITY, Ore. – Quick sharing of information and some good timing led to the arrest of a White City woman after a hit-and-run crash Wednesday evening.  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies say Aubrey Danielle Fitzgerald, 32, was driving on Beagle Road when she struck a garbage can on a residential driveway and drove away.  A deputy located her driving near the Medford Airport minutes later.  

“The driver was able to cover 13 miles from the point of the crash until she was stopped,” said JCSO Sgt. Julie Denney.  “We’re glad nobody was hurt in the meantime.”

On November 28, 2018, at 7:11 p.m., a resident in the 6100-block of Beagle Road witnessed the suspect vehicle veer to the edge of the roadway and strike his garbage can, knocking it several feet up his driveway.  The driver continued driving south without stopping. 

The property owner followed the vehicle south on Antioch Road and called 911. He provided a description of the vehicle and reported that it was driving erratically toward Table Rock Road.

While one deputy responded to the scene, another deputy located the suspect vehicle 13 miles from the crash site, just nine minutes after the 911 call.  He stopped the white 1994 Volvo sedan for a traffic violation on Biddle Road near Cirrus Drive.  The deputy found the driver, Fitzgerald, to be impaired by alcohol and he placed her under arrest.

Fitzgerald was lodged in jail on the following charges:  driving under the influence of intoxicants; driving while suspended – misdemeanor; failure to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged (hit and run). Her blood alcohol content was found to be 0.14% at the jail.

Sgt. Denney urges citizens to call 911 to make a report right away if they suspect an impaired driver on the roadway. 

“The caller in this case was able to provide good information to dispatch so we knew what to look for,” said Sgt. Denney.  “And fortunately the deputy was in the right place, at the right time, to find the car and stop the driver from going any farther.”

Case #18-24942

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SAR snow rescue - file photo 2017
SAR snow rescue - file photo 2017
SAR Offers Tips for Snow Safety (Photo) - 11/27/18

ASHLAND, Ore. – As the winter recreation season begins, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) search and rescue (SAR) officials are sharing tips to stay safe in the snow.  SAR personnel are gearing up to help when needed, but they urge people to do their part to prevent emergencies from happening in the first place.

JCSO Sergeant Shawn Richards says before heading out, it’s important to tell someone exactly where you are going and when to expect you back.  He also urges people to be prepared, even for short trips.

“Whether you’re hunting for a Christmas tree or enjoying a day on the mountain, you need to take along adequate food, water, clothing, and gear,” said Sergeant Richards.  “That also means having a plan for what you will do if you get stuck or lost.” 

Skiers and snowboarders are reminded of the dangers of crossing into the backcountry – a practice that tends to get people into trouble every year on Mount Ashland.  Sergeant Richards says it shouldn’t be attempted by those without experience.  Even so, skiers should keep in mind that the area beyond the Mount Ashland Ski Area boundary is not patrolled, there is no cell phone service, and rescuers probably won’t arrive quickly.

“When SAR or Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol are called upon to look for someone, it takes time to organize resources and start tracking someone down,” said Richards. “And that’s a best-case scenario. If nobody knows where you are or when to expect you back, it may take a long time for someone to report you missing and start the search process.”

Two JCSO SAR emergency shelters are placed on Mount Ashland where lost skiers have ended up in the past.  A shelter on the east side of the mountain has been restocked with emergency gear.  New this year, a second shelter was added to the south side of the mountain, in the Cottonwood drainage off US Forest Service Road 40S06.

While the purpose of the shelters is to save lives, Sergeant Richards reminds people that the shelters are for emergencies only.  People should plan ahead to be self-sufficient when heading outdoors, especially in the backcountry. 

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Porch Pirates graphic
Porch Pirates graphic
Preventing "Porch Pirates" (Photo) - 11/20/18

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – With Black Friday looming, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies say now is the time to plan ahead to prevent thefts by “porch pirates.”  Deputies urge residents to think ahead about how their packages will be delivered before making online purchases this holiday season. 

Throughout the year, law enforcement agencies receive reports of thefts of delivered items, often snagged from a mailbox or front porch.  But with a higher volume of deliveries during the holiday shopping season, the potential for thefts goes up. 

While deputies will work to keep an eye on area neighborhoods, there are a few things residents can do to help:

  • Check your package tracking information so you know when to expect deliveries.
  • If you're not home during the day, have your packages delivered to a neighbor or to your workplace. Some shipping companies also have options to customize your delivery or to pick up your packages at their facility.
  • Install surveillance cameras around your home. The presence of cameras will often deter thieves. If not, the video can help us track them down.
  • Be a vigilant neighbor. If you see a person or vehicle following a delivery truck around, call dispatch so we can check it out. Try to get a good description of the vehicle, a license plate number, and a description of the people involved, if possible.

Thefts or suspicious activity in Jackson County can be reported to dispatch at (541) 776-7206.

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Attached Media Files: Porch Pirates graphic
Kelly Clancy, Tabatha Clancy-Wood
Kelly Clancy, Tabatha Clancy-Wood
Missing Girl and Mom Found in Arizona (Photo) - 11/16/18

Update, November 16, 2018: 

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives say Tabatha Clancy-Wood has been located safe in Arizona. Tabatha was found with her mother, Kelly Clancy, in a shelter in Phoenix. 

Local police arrested Kelly on a warrant for custodial interference. Details regarding extradition are not yet available.

Tabatha’s father, Adrian Wood, has traveled to Phoenix. He will meet with child welfare authorities Friday morning to reunite with Tabatha.

No further information is available at this time. 

 

Original release:

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a missing eight-year-old girl.  Detectives say Tabatha Clancy-Wood is likely with her mother, Kelly Marie Clancy, 46, who reportedly left the area for California in August during a custody dispute.

Detectives say Tabatha’s father, Adrian Wood, first contacted Eagle Point Police and JCSO over the summer to report issues related to custody and visitation.  Wood obtained sole custody of Tabatha in October. On October 26, 2018, a judge signed an order that Tabatha be returned to her father.  But by then, Tabatha and Kelly were still nowhere to be found.  Tabatha was entered as a missing/endangered person.

Family members told deputies they haven’t heard from Kelly and Tabatha since mid- to late August when the two vacated their apartment in the 100-block of Onyx Street, Eagle Point, reportedly to travel to an amusement park in Southern California.  Kelly also left her cell phone behind.  Kelly was last seen driving a white 2008 Saturn sedan with Oregon license plate 911HQQ.

Detectives say the most pressing need is to ensure the welfare of the child.  Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the JCSO tip line at (541) 774-8333.  Tips can also be sent by email to CID@jacksoncounty.org.

Case #18-22699

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Attached Media Files: Kelly Clancy, Tabatha Clancy-Wood