Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office
Emergency Messages as of 4:36 pm, Mon. Mar. 18
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News Releases
March 2019 traffic stop
March 2019 traffic stop
Deputies Plan St. Paddy's Day DUII Patrols (Photo) - 03/14/19

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – If your St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes alcohol, don’t rely on luck – make a plan now to help keep the roads safe for everyone.  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies will be adding patrols over the weekend to look for impaired drivers.

The 2019 St. Patrick’s Day patrols will run from March 15 to 18.  Grant funding allows JCSO to put extra deputies on the road to 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). 

According to NHTSA, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays on our nation’s roads. During the 2013 – 2017 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18), 234 lives were lost due to drunk-driving crashes.

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 head out, 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 911 immediately.

For more information on the NHTSA Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, go to the NHTSA website at https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving#view-campaign .

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Attached Media Files: March 2019 traffic stop
Johnson booking 031219
Johnson booking 031219
Task Force Arrests Attempted Murder Suspect (Photo) - 03/13/19

MEDFORD – A man wanted for attempted murder in Fortuna, California, is now lodged in the Jackson County jail.  Local members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force (PNVOTF) arrested Derek Ray Johnson, 24, on Tuesday. 

Just after noon on March 12, 2019, PNVOTF officers attempted to contact Johnson at a residence in the 3000-block of Sheraton Court.  Johnson initially attempted to flee the through a back door, but was met by waiting task force officers.  He was taken into custody without further incident. 

Johnson was lodged in the Jackson County jail on a no-bail fugitive warrant for attempted murder.  Officers from the Medford Police Department assisted at the scene.

The local division of the PNVOTF is made up of personnel from the United States Marshals Service, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and Central Point Police Department.  The task force specializes in locating and arresting fugitives wanted for offenses including, but not limited to, murder, assault, sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, firearm violations, and probation violations.

JCSO Case #19-4952

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Attached Media Files: Johnson booking 031219
Ernst booking - 2018
Ernst booking - 2018
Man Accused of Luring, Abusing Teen (Photo) - 03/11/19

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives believe a man investigated on child luring and abuse charges in Texas and in Jackson County may have more victims.  Robert Bernard Ernst, 38, formerly of Medford, has been in federal custody in Texas since the spring of 2018 after an arrest for enticement of a minor for indecent purposes.  

Meanwhile in 2018, JCSO detectives received a report that Ernst contacted a 14-year-old Jackson County girl on social media in 2017, and then met her in person to sexually abuse her.  On March 7, 2019, a Jackson County grand jury indicted Ernst on charges of third degree rape, third degree sodomy, second degree sexual abuse, and first and second degree online sexual corruption of a child (two counts of each).

Detectives say Ernst used the handle “funinthesun80” on Snapchat to contact the girl.  They are concerned Ernst may have additional victims who have yet to come forward.  Anyone with relevant information is asked to call Detective Steve Bohn at (541) 774-6168.

Case #18-5067

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Attached Media Files: Ernst booking - 2018
Mt Ashland Ski Area 2/16/19
Mt Ashland Ski Area 2/16/19
Skier Dies on Mt. Ashland *UPDATE* (Photo) - 02/18/19

Update, 2/18/19 at 3:00 p.m:  An autopsy performed Monday, February 18, 2019, revealed Johnathan Patrick Likeke Walker, 23, died of suffocation following a skiing accident on Mt. Ashland on Saturday.  

During the investigation, deputies learned that Walker was skiing in a group of three Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members.  Walker was the last of the group to descend the hill.  The others looked back to find that Walker had skied into a tree well and had become trapped upside down in the snow.  They climbed back up the steep hill and worked to free Walker from the snow, but he was not breathing. Efforts to resuscitate Walker by ski patrol members, as well as by medical personnel at the ski area, continued for approximately two hours.  

Update, 2/17/19 at 10:35 a.m.

The decedent in Saturday's incident on Mt. Ashland was identified as Johnathan Patrick Likeke Walker, 23.  Walker lived and worked locally, but lived previously in Yakima, Wash.  The autopsy has been postponed until Monday. 

Original release, 2/16/19 at 8:10 p.m.:

ASHLAND, Ore. - A 23-year-old man died Saturday afternoon after reportedly colliding with a tree while skiing on Mt. Ashland.  He was a member of the Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol.  

On February 16, 2019, at 1:31 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting a skiing accident on the south side of the mountain, outside the boundaries of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.  Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies responded to the ski area, along with personnel from Ashland Fire & Rescue. 

Deputies learned the victim was among a group of Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members skiing in the back country.  The victim's fellow ski patrol members rendered aid and transported him back up the slope to the ski area.  Medical personnel continued resuscitation until he was pronounced dead at 3:37 p.m. 

The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause and manner of death.  An autopsy is planned for Sunday.

The victim's next-of-kin has been notified.  His name will be released at a later time to allow additional family to be notified. 

Case #19-03254

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Attached Media Files: Mt Ashland Ski Area 2/16/19