Driver Cleared of Criminal Charges in Rogue River Pedestrian Death

A crash that claimed the life of a pedestrian in June did not result from any criminal negligence, according to investigators.

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 10:43 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — In June, a driver struck and killed a pedestrian at the intersection of E Main and Pine Street in Rogue River. On Monday, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office announced that the driver will not be tried on criminal charges for the incident.

The crash occurred back on June 13 of 2018 just before 11 a.m. Susan Alleman was driving her Dodge pickup truck and stopped at the four-way intersection, intending to turn left onto West Main Street. In making the turn, Alleman struck 75-year-old Claudia Townsend as she crossed the street. Investigators believe that Townsend was about 40 feet from the crosswalk when she was hit.

When officers and emergency personnel arrived, they took Townsend to Three River's Hospital in Grants Pass, where she was pronounced dead about two hours later.

Although police interviewed several bystanders at the scene, none of them directly witnessed the crash. Some said that they had heard a "loud crash or banging noise," according to the DA's office.

Alleman told police that after she'd made the left turn onto West Main, she suddenly saw Townsend in front of her and slammed on her brakes, stopping immediately — but not before striking Townsend.

According to officers on the scene, Alleman was in a visibly emotional state after the incident. She denied using her cell phone at the time of the crash, and submitted to an examination by a Drug Recognition Expert who found that she was not under the influence of any intoxicants at the time. A urine sample came back negative for the presence of drugs in Alleman's system.

Officers reported no evidence that Alleman was using her cell phone or was otherwise distracted at the time of the crash — however, they noted an "inflatable bear" near the intersection that may have blocked Alleman's line of sight.

"It was determined that Ms. Alleman was not intoxicated or distracted," said a statement from the DA's office. "The events of that day were a terrible tragedy. However, they do not rise to the level of criminal conduct."

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