JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore — Two fatal crashes separated just hours apart on highway 199 last Friday, has law enforcement in Josephine County concerned.
“It’s always been a dangerous highway,” Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel told NBC5.
On Friday March 26th, Oregon State Police Troopers responded to a three-car crash on US-199 just before 7:30 a.m. Preliminary investigation showed that the driver of the Toyota 4Runner, was going northbound before crashing into two other cars in the southbound lane.
One of the cars was driven by 35 year old Paul Taylor of Cave Junction, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hours later just after noon, an infant was rushed to a nearby hospital after being involved in a separate three-car crash. The infant later died at a hospital in Portland.
Generally speaking, both Sheriff Daniel and Oregon State Police Lieutenant Stephanie Bigman, say that distracted driving and speed are main factors behind majority of the crashes.
“They’re out, the sun is shining, its beautiful, they got the radio up, windows down,” Lieutenant Stephanie Bigman said. “They’re just driving a little too fast.”
In May last year, The Oregon Department of Transportation established a seven mile safety corridor between Selma and Cave Junction. It allows for officers to issue fines for speeding over the limit, which can cost up to $600.
“We try not to go out and issue a lot of citations,” Bigman said. “What we’re looking for is voluntary compliance.”
Both crashes which occurred just outside of the corridor last Friday, remains under investigation. Witnesses to the crash are asked to contact Oregon State Police: 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP.
Case number for crash near milepost 30 (7:27 a.m.) : SP21-076174
Case number for crash near milepost 11 (12:31 p.m.) : SP21-076501