IVFD Fire Chief warns community to slow down, following multiple fatal car crashes in one week

ILLINOIS VALLEY, Ore. — There have been three fatal car crashes in rural Josephine County this past week, including another last night.

Two of those accidents happened on the same road.

“Mariah: You were here. You were just here how many hours ago?” Chief Holmes glances at watch: “About 12 hours ago.”

For Illinois Valley Fire Chief, John Holmes, getting called out to car crashes has become a somewhat regular occurrence.

“A few weeks ago we had a person that had a medical condition, unfortunately, sped off the side of the road and it was a fatal incident. Last night’s incident from what I’m gathering with the sheriff’s department, is that it had to do with excessive speed, over 70 mph on Rockydale itself,” he said.

Rockydale Road at the intersection of Waldo Road outside of Cave Junction claimed two lives Saturday night, after another single fatal car crash Wednesday.

Chief Holmes says the intersection has taken at least 10 lives over the years.

“About 25% of our call volume is for car accidents,” Chief Holmes said.

He says Illinois Valley Fire Department has ran around 1,500 calls already this year – nearly 100 more than last year’s total already.

His message for the community? Slow down. “[Highway] 199, Rockydale, anywhere that you can get some speed into your vehicle, that’s what’s killing people. Save it for the race track, save your fast driving for the race track.”

Holmes says his department covers 144 square miles, with 4 full-time firefighter EMTs and about 12 volunteers.

With the increase in calls, he says help is welcome.

“The community needs the support. We need the volunteers.”

Most importantly, he’s urging his neighbors to drive carefully this holiday season.

In addition to driving more slowly, experts say you should allow more space between vehicles this time of year.

If you’re interested in helping out and becoming a firefighter volunteer, you can visit the Illinois Valley Fire Station at 681 South Caves Highway.

You can also visit ivfire.com.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.