Jackson County, Ore. — A young, southern Oregon couple started a petition to add a stop light to a dangerous local intersection. They said their friend’s death earlier this week should be a wake up call to the community.
In 2016 alone, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to four car crashes at the intersection on Kershaw Road and Highway 140.
This Tuesday, 21-year-old Hunter Hoeptner lost his life while riding his motorcycle.
“He was hit and he was deceased on the scene when people showed up,” said Tristan Watson. Watson was Hoeptner’s friend.
“We were good friends – high school buddies, sport buddies.”
Hoeptner was riding his motorcycle down Highway 140 on Tuesday – a ride that ultimately took his life near Kershaw Road.
“A truck pulled out in front of him, I’m guessing it was a misjudgment,” Watson said.
It’s the loss of one of his best friends, that lead him to start a petition to save others the pain he feels.
“A selfless guy. He loves helping others, he was a happy guy too,” Watson said.
Watson said Hoeptner will be remembered for his character.
“I know this is hard for everybody. This is a big hit to a lot of people,” Watson said.
He was a hard-working wrestling champion at Eagle Point High School. After he graduated, he joined the National Guard.
“I didn’t want his death to be meaningless, I want it to mean something. So I came up with this idea,” Watson said.
With the help of his girlfriend, Watson set up an online petition to add a stop light at the intersection.
“Fix this stoplight. To make it so that no one else has to go through this again at that intersection,” Watson said.
As of Thursday evening, the petition has more than 2,600 signatures. After the pair reaches their goal, they will send the petition to the Oregon Department of Transportation, Senator Ron Wyden, and Governor Kate Brown.
If you’re interested in learning more about the petition, you can visit Watson’s change.org page.