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Distinguished emergency dispatcher dies in wrong way driving accident

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Thu, March 27 2014 at 7:33 PM, Updated: Sat, March 29 2014 at 6:38 PM

(Correction: The original press release from the Oregon State Police stated Richard Scott was 32 years-old. Further press releases have been corrected to state Scott is 43 years-old. The article has been corrected.)

Phoenix, Ore. -- In the early hours of Thursday morning, just after 3am, law enforcement in the valley said they lost one of their own.

"This is a tough day for the community and the law enforcement community in particular," said Oregon State Police Trooper Bill Matson.

According to Matson, 43-year-old Grants Pass resident Richard Webster Scott drove his Dodge Caravan northbound in a southbound lane on I-5.   

It slammed head-on with a southbound Honda Civic near milepost 24.

Matson said the woman in the Civic, 58-year-old Ashlander Karen Lee Greenstein was thrown from her car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Greenstein was on her way home from her shift, working as a dispatcher at Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon. According to police, she worked for over 20-years for several Jackson County-area emergency dispatch centers.

"It's definitely a loss," Matson said.

As for Scott, Matson said he was extricated from his car.

"It was determined that that person was under the influence of alcohol," said Matson.

Scott was initially taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center in serious condition, then flown to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland where he remained in serious condition.

Crews shutdown the southbound lanes on I-5 from South Medford to Talent for roughly eight hours.

OSP said they're moving forward in the their investigation and expect to file criminal charges in the near future.

Those who knew Karen Greenstein are still mourning the death of a vital member of the law enforcement community in the valley, whose helpful voice officers will no longer hear over their radios. 

NBC 5 News spoke with Greenstein's daughter via Facebook.

She said there were three things Karen loved most: her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Coworkers said Karen was always positive, always smiling and had an unforgettable laugh. She was also a distinguished dispatcher, earning the ECSO Dispatcher of the Year award in 2011.

 

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

Connect with Christine

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