old stage coach CrashRICHARDSON, Ore. – Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation following the discovery early Monday of a single vehicle fatal crash scene down a steep embankment off Old Stage Coach Road north of Highway 126W in Lane County. The ongoing investigation confirmed the deceased victim, Canyon Arthur McCardel, was driving the vehicle.

OSP was notified of the single vehicle fatal traffic crash off Old Stage Coach Road near milepost 5. A family member of Hannah H. Smith, age 18, from Eugene, who was previously reported missing to Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), discovered the wreckage down a steep embankment on railroad tracks below after hearing Smith’s screams for help while passing through the area. Smith was seriously injured and an 18-year old male, identified as CANYON ARTHUR McCARDEL from Eugene, was deceased.

LCSO and Lane Fire Authority responded to the scene and confirmed the report. OSP troopers from the Springfield Area Command office responded to investigate the crash. The railroad company was notified to prevent train traffic until the vehicle was removed and responders cleared the scene.

Preliminary investigation indicates the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle containing the two occupants was traveling on Old Stage Coach Road when it went off the roadway and down a steep embankment. The vehicle came to rest on its side on railroad tracks approximately 40 feet below. Initial information indicates the crash may have happened late Saturday night, September 13.

According to LCSO, Smith was reported missing to their department Sunday, September 14 at 7:58 p.m., after family said she did not arrive at a friend’s house Saturday night.

McCardel was not using safety restraints and was ejected from the vehicle. Smith, who also was not using safety restraints, was trapped inside the vehicle and extricated. She was transported by Western Lane Ambulance District to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend with serious, non-life threatening injuries.

Photo Courtesy: CNN

Photo Courtesy: CNN

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US senate is expected to vote on a plan to fight back against ISIS in Syria by arming other rebel groups.

This comes a day after the US house approved the President’s plan. The Syrian rebel training authorization is tucked into a spending bill, going before US senators today. Experts say, it may be a close vote in the senate with many lawmakers against it.

Senator Joe Manchin (D. West Virginia) explains, “I strongly believe that if our military arms and trains Syrian rebels, we will be involving ourselves in a ground conflict we cannot resolve, where potentially everyone involved is our enemy.”

This comes as Australia police say they’ve thwarted a plot, involving the Islamic State Group planning to carry out beheadings in the country. Australian Police are holding six people, they’re identifying as the ringleader. Australia’s prime minister says there’s information the group was planning to behead a random person in Sydney as a “demonstration” killing.

ODFWCENTRAL POINT, Ore. — The Industrial Fire Prevention Level (IFPL) in forests and wildlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in southwest Oregon lowered from level 3 to level 2 this morning. This affects the 1.8 million acres of state, county, private and Bureau of Land Management lands protected by ODF’s Southwest Oregon District in Jackson and Josephine counties.

The public fire prevention regulations as well as the restrictions in effect in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River between Grave Creek and Marial remain the same. The following IFPL 2 regulations are now in effect:

  • The use of fire in any form is prohibited
  • The use of power saws is prohibited, except at loading sites, between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • The use of cable yarders is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Blasting is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Welding and the cutting of metal are prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Additionally, commercial operators on forestlands are required to have fire suppression equipment on site and provide watchman service. For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire season regulations, contact the unit office in your area: Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point. Phone: (541) 664-3328. Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Drive, Grants Pass. Phone: (541) 474-3152. Southwest Oregon District fire precaution level information is also posted online at www.swofire.com.

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MEDFORD, Ore. — There are organizations in place to not only help people cope with the immediate shock of devastations, but to make a plan for the future which can sometimes be hard to even think about at first. The Southern Oregon chapter of Red Cross is helping the family in Medford whose home burned a few days ago, as well as the families in Weed. NewsWatch 12 was joined by Meghan O’Hara to explain some of these efforts.

EL DORADO COUNTY, Ca. — A man has been charged with Arson for the King Fire in California. The El Dorado County Superior Court charged Wayne Allen Huntsman Thursday with Arson of Forest Land, a felony.

His arraignment is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19th in Eldorado Court at 1:00 p.m.

The King Fire has burned 70,994 acres and is 5 percent contained. It started on Sept. 13th. There are 2,007 single structures threatened and 1,505 other minor structures.

Change of Plans For Josephine CountyGrants Pass, OR – Due to limited resources of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office during the last 28 months property crime investigations have consequently fallen to the wayside. Sheriff Gilbertson, working in concert with the District Attorney’s Office, formed a team of vetted and well-trained Volunteers and Reserves to assume this function. These teams will be considered a cold case investigative operation under the direct supervision of the Sheriff’s Office. 

Some teams have already acquired over 100 hours of training and experience. In August, training was conducted at the Illinois Valley Fire District “burn-house” on Redwood Hwy. Three teams were sent through a “mock” crime scene of a home burglary. The teams processed the scene as if it were real; taking photos, dusting for prints and writing a report. As with a “real” case, the evidence and crime report were submitted and the conclusion was a successful “test run”. This was followed by more training and mock scenes including property and vehicles. 

One team is almost ready to assume processing evidence at property crime scenes with more teams still in training. Other interested citizens willing to participate and former law enforcement personnel with investigative skills are encouraged to apply for this specialty unit.

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WEED, Calif. — While the Weed elementary and high schools are still closed for fire investigations, College of the Siskiyous is back in session for students today. Students at College of the Siskiyous are just being released from classes on the first day back since the fire.

Representatives say students had to be evacuated from dorms the day of the fire. Right now, the school is still trying to get a number of students who’ve been affected. Along with students and their families, Many members of the staff here are displaced from their homes this week and some have lost everything.

Bill Boggs, a student at College of the Siskiyous explains, “I think the classes will be smaller. Do you push through and try to stay positive? Or do you try to help the community?”

Dawnie Slabaugh, Director Public Relations with the college, says, “we are going to have counseling available for students and staff, and just trying to do everything we can to support the community.”

The counseling staff and representatives for the school say they don’t expect all of their students to be on campus today. They say the classes are a way to help people get back into their normal schedules and feel supported by their college community.

And here at the student center, students are helping each other. The associated student body has a fire information board to help students who aren’t in the affected neighborhoods understand where the fire was the most damaging and how they can help their classmates.

scottsburg truck crashSCOTTSBURG, Ore. — Highway 38 at the Scottsburg Bridge near milepost 16 is still closed following a traffic crash involving a commercial truck pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with lumber products. The truck and trailer is hanging over the bridge railing above the river and an estimated hundred gallons of diesel has leaked into the river.

According to Lieutenant Steve Mitchell, preliminary information indicates on September 18, 2014, at approximately 8:20 a.m., a 1994 Peterbilt truck pulling a flatbed semi-trailer loaded with lumber products driven by a 54-year old male was eastbound on Highway 38 near milepost 16. For an unconfirmed reason, as the truck was negotiating a left curve it struck the guardrail and went onto the bridge railing. The lumber products spilled off the trailer as it went over the railing. The truck and trailer are partially hanging off the bridge over the Umpqua River.

The truck’s driver was taken by ambulance to Lower Umpqua Hospital with minor injuries.

Oregon State Police (OSP), Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, ODOT, Scottsburg Fire Department, US Coast Guard and local emergency responders are working together at the scene. Oregon Emergency Response System (OERS) was notified and a HazMat team has been contacted to respond and handle the diesel spill.

The highway is expected to be blocked for several hours. ODOT is dispatching a bridge inspector to the scene to check for damage.

BROOKINGS, Ore. — Weather changes have brought cooler conditions to the Coos Forest Protective Association.  The reduced fire danger levels are allowing fire mangers to lower fire levels within the district.  Lands protected by CFPA within Regulated Use Areas CS-1, CS-2, CS-4, CS-5, SK-1 and SK-2 will lower to a Level II (2).  Changes are effective as of 8 a.m. today, Thursday, September 18th.

IFPL II, or “partial hootowl”, prohibits blasting, welding and cable yarding from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The use of power saws is also prohibited between these hours, except at loading sites.  A firewatch of three hours is also required.

The Regulated Use Closure will remain in place at this time.  Power saw use is prohibited between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  When permitted, each saw must have one axe, one shovel and one operational fire extinguisher that is of at least 8 ounce capacity. In addition, a fire watch is required for at least one hour following the use of each saw.

Hunters and recreationists will need to contact local landowners to see if entry onto their land is permitted.  For further information on fire danger levels and closures, contact the CFPA 24-hour closure information line at (541) 267-1789 or access CFPA’s website at www.coosfpa.net.


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WEED, Calif. — Insurance companies are set up to help the hundreds of homeowners in Weed with damaged or destroyed neighborhoods.

Representatives from farmers insurance say the catastrophe relief tents are set up in situations where clients need may be unable to call or use the internet. Most of the homeowners already reported their claims yesterday but the representatives are staying available while evacuation orders are still in place.

Lisa Lehman, a Disaster Response Coordinator with Farmers Insurance says, “We deployed the morning after the fire, knew with that with the size of the fire and the number of homes that we’re destroyed that we would need to assist our customers. So we’re here set up taking claims for customers answering questions.”

Representatives with Farmers insurance say they’ve met with almost all of their customers in the city of Weed. They are sticking around today to help collect donations for victims and to and help anyone who needs support.

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