SELMA, Ore. — The officer who shot at an unidentified driver during a confrontation south of Lake Selmac last month has been cleared for a return to active duty, according to the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.
The officer-involved shooting followed the grim discovery of two bodies in a burned vehicle off McMullen Creek Road on March 24. According to newly-released details from the Sheriff's Office, the burned vehicle was found at the end of a logging road, several miles from Lakeshore Drive.
Because of the remote location, deputies had to use side-by-side and other all-terrain vehicles to reach the scene. Investigators set up a staging area down the logging road at a fork on McMullen Creek Road. One fork led to the scene, while the other traveled further up McMullen Creek before connecting with Kerby Mainline Road.
Just after midnight on March 25, deputies and Oregon State Police troopers were at the staging area, developing their plans to continue the homicide investigation the next morning when they heard a vehicle approaching from the other fork of McMullen Creek Road.
The Sheriff's Office said that there were two vehicles, an SUV and a small truck. A truck and trailer from the Sheriff's Office were blocking the road at the fork, and officers at the spot saw the approaching truck pass in front of the SUV as they drew near.
"As the vehicles approached, because of the area, the hour, and the outstanding double homicide suspect(s), the officers attempted to contact the drivers," the Sheriff's Office said.
Lt. Jim Geiger of the Sheriff's Office approached the vehicles as they slowed. The agency said that he was wearing his uniform, and walked toward the truck. Other officers also came up, reportedly saying things like "police," "show us your hands," and "Sheriff's Office."
Instead of stopping, the driver of the truck first moved slowly forward, then threw the vehicle into reverse — hitting the SUV behind.
"This movement of the truck and position of Lt. Geiger placed him in imminent threat of serious physical injury or death. As a result, Lt. Geiger discharged his service pistol five times before diving into a roadside ditch to avoid being run over," the Sheriff's Office said.
The driver of the truck managed to get away, and the Sheriff's Office said that it still has not been located. The latest statement did not mention what occurred with the SUV or its occupants.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office led the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, and Oregon State Police performed reconstruction of the scene.
After a review of the investigation, the Josephine County District Attorney cleared Lt. Geiger of wrongdoing. The Sheriff's Office said that he has been taken off administrative leave and is cleared for active duty.