Family remembers lives lost in Grants Pass hit & run

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —A pair of elderly Grants Pass residents are dead, after being hit by a car in the city on Friday on their way to a Christmas party. The family says the couple is a pillar in the community. The two have been Grants Pass residents since 1963. They say everywhere they go, someone has a connection to the Jacobsen’s.

A night that was supposed to be filled with holiday cheer quickly turned tragic for one Grants Pass couple. It happened on the 1900 block of Highway 99 at around 6:30 Friday. Police say the elderly couple 91-year-old Deverne Jacobsen and 85-year-old Gwen Jacobsen were trying to cross Highway 99 to go to a Christmas party when they were hit by a Toyota Tacoma.

“They had parked across the street from the River’s Edge where they tell the people to park, and when you park across the street you have to walk across Rogue River Highway, so they had just gotten there and there wasn’t a lot of lighting, and the kid was leaning down to turn the radio station is what he claimed and swerved off the road and hit them,” said relative, Sarah Young.

The driver kept going and was later arrested, according to OSP. Officials say the two died from the collision. A relative tells us a friend realized the couple was late and went outside to find their bodies.

“It’s a lot of anger because it couldn’t have happened to better people, they did not deserve this, they have been huge pillars to the community for years,” said Young.

Eric Jacobsen says what happened to his parents doesn’t feel real.

” I talked to my brother earlier, he and I will both think of something we want to share with my dad or mom or ask advice or a question and I can’t do that,” said Eric Jacobsen.

He says they meet in college and have been together for 60 years. He was a Pharmacist at McLain’s and she was a teacher at Grants Pass High School. Jacobsen says he admires his parent’s selflessness and wants people to remember them for their lifetime of service.

“As I would go down the street with them someone would always stop them, either for my dad or for my mom asking how they were what’s going on and they would in turn ask about them,” said Jacobsen.

The couple leaves behind 2 children, and 6 grandchildren.

“I could never fully encapsulate their legacy into words they’ve done so much for me so I can’t even imagine what they have done for the city of Grants Pass,” said Young.

25-year-old Skylar Fucci of Grants Pass is facing two counts of felony hit and run, but police say additional charges may be applied later.OSP declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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