Local News

OSP Nabbed Merlin Man for Felony DUII and DWS after Weekend Traffic Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a Merlin man for felony impaired and suspended driving following a weekend traffic stop in the North Valley area. According to OSP, troopers pulled over a Ford pickup driven by 40-year-old Robert Brian Bachman near the intersection of Merlin and Pleasant Valley roads on Saturday at 11:15 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Bachman for a traffic violation and he immediately informed them he had a felony-level suspended license. They also observed strong signs of impairment and placed him into custody. Robert Bachman was transported to the Josephine County Jail where he provided a breath sample that was more than twice the legal driving limit. He was booked into jail for Felony Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Felony Driving While Suspended and Reckless Driving. His pickup was parked and secured.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:28AM by Sam Marsh

OSP Arrested Motorist for Warrant and DWS after Downtown GP Traffic Stop
The Oregon State Police arrested a motorist on a local warrant after a weekend traffic stop in downtown Grants Pass. OSP reports troopers pulled over a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 36-year-old Alexander Lewis Kuckuck near the corner of SE 8th and G streets on Friday at 3:31 p.m.. Troopers said they stopped Kuckuck for multiple traffic violations and quickly discovered that his driving privileges had been suspended. They also learned that he was wanted on a Josephine County warrant for failing to appear in court for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Alexander Kuckuck was placed into custody and lodged at the Josephine County Jail. His vehicle was impounded.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:27AM by Sam Marsh

Authorities Believe Squatters May Have Started House Fire near Hog Creek
Authorities believe squatters may have started a weekend fire at a vacant house in the Hog Creek area west of Merlin. On Saturday at 5:46 a.m., Rural Metro Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire in the 4400-block of Galice Road. Rural Metro officials said arriving units were able to contain the fire before it was able to advance very far and destroy the house. They said there was evidence of squatter activity in the dwelling and attempts to locate the property owner were underway. With the cold weather and a growing unhoused population in Josephine County, fire officials encourage property owners of vacant buildings to secure and monitor the structures to guard against unexpected damage or loss.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:25AM by Sam Marsh

IVFD Responded to Motor Vehicle Crash & Vehicle Fire Over the Weekend
The Illinois Valley Fire District reported a motor vehicle accident and a vehicle fire over the weekend. According to IVFD, the first incident occurred on Saturday at 7:54 p.m. when crews responded to a vehicle in a ditch on Redwood Highway at Airport Drive. IVFD officials said they were requested to respond by the Oregon State Police. They said no one was hurt in the crash and the owner arranged for their own tow. Jerry's Towing arrived and hauled the damaged vehicle to Cave Junction. The second incident happened on Sunday at 12:40 a.m. when crews responded to what was reported to be an open burn on South Redwood Highway. However, the incident was upgraded to a vehicle fire in the back parking lot of the property. The burning trailer was extinguished and the fire was being investigated.
Posted on 12/18/23 10:24AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Man for Threatening Black Man with Weapon near Post Office
Grants Pass Police jailed a man for threatening another man with a weapon near the downtown post office in a weekend incident related to the victim's race. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 46-year-old David Israel McDonald in the 100-block of NW 6th Street on Saturday at 2:21 p.m.. Police said McDonald was placed into custody for publicly insulting a black male adult in front of the post office, calling him a racial slur and making derogatory statements regarding the man's ethnicity. During the incident, officers said McDonald brandished a sharp-edge weapon which was described by the frightened but unharmed victim. The suspect also reportedly spit on the man. David McDonald was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on felony allegations of 1st-Degree Bias Crime and Unlawful Use of a Weapon along with a misdemeanor charge of Menacing. He was being held without bail.
Posted on 12/18/23 6:02AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Jailed Woman for Causing Library Disturbance & Fighting Officers
Grants Pass Police jailed a woman for causing a disturbance at the local branch library and then fighting with responding officers. The Police Department reports officers eventually arrested 43-year-old Adora Angelina Wicker-Espinoza for the incident at the library branch on NW C Street on Friday afternoon. Police said Wicker-Espinoza was reported to be acting disorderly and refusing to leave the library. They said she refused multiple requests and commands to leave after making threats toward library workers. While attempting to place the suspect in custody, she took a fighting stance and held up a large walking stick at officers. According to the report, the female suspect attempted to strike one officer with the stick, but she was quickly taken to the ground and placed into custody. Adora Wicker-Espinoza was lodged at the Josephine County Jail for felony crimes of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Attempted Assault on a Peace Officer as well as misdemeanor crimes of Menacing, Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Trespass. She was being held without bail.
Posted on 12/18/23 6:01AM by Sam Marsh
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GP Police Arrested Man for Trying to Steal Money from Store Cash Register
Grants Pass Police arrested a man for trying to steal money from a cash register at a Redwood area convenience store over the weekend. According to the Police Department, officers arrested 37-year-old Dustin J. Brown at Taser point for the incident at the Willow Lane Market on Friday at 9:26 p.m.. Police said Brown entered the market and intentionally attempted to steal $500 out of the cash register. They said he was met with physical resistance from employees to prevent him from taking the money and he used physical force against them. No injuries were reported and the suspect's theft attempt was thwarted by the workers. K-9 officers were brought in to search for an alleged firearm Brown said he may have discarded in the area, but nothing was found. Dustin Brown was booked into the Josephine County Jail on charges of 3rd-Degree Robbery and Attempted 2nd-Degree Theft.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:59AM by Sam Marsh
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Alert Neighbor Credited with Rapid Response to Douse Grants Pass RV Fire
An alert neighbor who smelled smoke coming from a recreational vehicle in southeast Grants Pass is being credited for a rapid response from firefighters. On Saturday at 12:54 p.m., a call to the Grants Pass 9-1-1 Communications Center mobilized units from Grants Pass Fire & Rescue and Rural Metro Fire Department to the incident in the 1900-block of Rogue River Highway. Firefighters arrived on scene to see smoke coming from large 5th-wheel trailer, but no visible flames. Crews entered the RV, which was being used as a primary residence, and extinguished the interior blaze. There were no injuries reported. Rural Metro officials said the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature. They said numerous items were plugged in, most likely causing an overload. Officials said the limited damage to the RV and adjacent RVs on the property was the result of quick action by the neighbor and the automatic aid system employed between Rural Metro and Grants Pass using "closest engine response" regardless of jurisdiction.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:58AM by Sam Marsh
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GP City Council Slated to Review Public Safety Funding Survey at Workshop
The Grants Pass City Council will take another step toward solving the public safety funding problem during its bi-weekly workshop session today. The City Council is scheduled to review the public safety funding survey results and engage in level-of-service discussions. Grants Pass voters overwhelmingly approved the $1.79 public safety levy in the November election, but the levy amount is not keeping up with the rising costs of running police and fire departments. The City Council put out a survey last month asking citizens to select one of six possible options for additional funding. Following a review of the agenda for the next regular business meeting, Mayor Sara Bristol will convene a Special Meeting in Executive Session. During the closed-door meeting, the Council is slated to discuss current labor negotiations and performance evaluations of public officers. Today's workshop begins at 11:45 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at Grants Pass City Hall, 101 NW A Street.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:56AM by Sam Marsh
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GPPD Welcomes New Officer with Strong Passion for Local Law Enforcement
The Grants Pass Police Department is welcoming Officer Daniel Varela who was recently sworn in by Chief Warren Hensman. Officer Varela has lived in the Grants Pass area for nearly 20 years and formerly worked as a regional manager for Verizon and then as a corrections deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. Varela said he chose a career in law enforcement to utilize his communication skills, his empathy and awareness to protect his community. He said his passion for law enforcement has come from his mission to set the standard and show his daughter that she can always follow her dreams. Varela added that he chose the Grants Pass Police Department because its core values align to create a strong sense of community safety through earned trust, courage and accountability. Welcome to the Grants Pass Police Department Officer Daniel Varela!
Posted on 12/18/23 5:55AM by Sam Marsh
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Jackson County Team Leading Investigation into Officer-Involved Shooting Death in GP
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The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting that killed the fourth suspect in a November 21st Grants Pass homicide on Rogue River Highway. The Oregon State Police reported late Friday afternoon that the incident involved the Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Sheriff's Office and troopers who were searching for 48-year-old Kelly Lynn Mason. According to OSP, Mason was located in a vehicle on Friday at about 12:10 p.m. and he fled from law enforcement officers who pursued him to the intersection of Redwood Highway and Allen Creek Road. The suspect fired a gun at officers who returned fire from their duty weapons. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Josephine County Sheriff's Office confirms one deputy was injured during the gunfight. The deputy was treated for a minor injury at the hospital and released. All the involved officers have been placed on traumatic event leave as is standard protocol in deadly force incidents. The Jackson County Major Crimes Team is comprised of investigators from several local agencies and it's being overseen by the Josephine County District Attorney's Office.
Posted on 12/18/23 5:50AM by Sam Marsh
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Josephine County Seeks Applicants for New Law Enforcement District Advisory Committee
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Josephine County is seeking applicants to serve on the citizen's advisory committee for the newly-formed Josephine County Law Enforcement Service District. Approved by voters in the November 7th special election, the law enforcement district will be advised by a five-member panel of Josephine County residents from various member communities. Those communities include Cave Junction, the Illinois Valley, Sunny Valley, Wolf Creek, Murphy and the greater Grants Pass area outside the city limits. The Josephine County Law Enforcement Service District covers Josephine County outside the City of Grants Pass and certain areas within the urban growth boundary of Grants Pass with existing public safety and annexation agreements. The Citizens Advisory Committee will advise the district governing body on matters concerning the district including expenditures, enforcement priorities and general operation of the district. Anyone who is interested in serving on the committee is invited to apply at "josephinecounty.gov/apply." Applications are due on January 12, 2024, by 4 p.m..
Posted on 12/18/23 5:48AM by Sam Marsh
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