MEDFORD, Ore. — Hot on the heels of several severe DUII crashes in the Medford area over the past week, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) has announced that it will be stepping up patrols for the next week in anticipation of Spring Break.
"While many families are heading out on road trips for Spring Break 2019, Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies are working to keep those roads safe," the agency said in a statement.
The extra patrols begin Monday and are slated to continue through Sunday, Mach 31. More deputies will be out on the roads during this period.
According to JCSO, patrols will focus on rural areas and "roads leading to destinations such as lakes, campgrounds, and winter recreation areas."
Last week, a DUII-related crash on McAndrews Road in Medford caused the hospitalization of two people — including the driver believed to have caused the crash, who sustained severe injuries. Authorities arrested a second impaired driver during the response, after he attempted to drive through the scene.
On Sunday, a 16-year-old driver suspected of driving impaired took out a traffic control box on Table Rock Road in Medford. Police later found the driver asleep behind the wheel of a car.
The DUII patrol push is funded through grants, allowing JCSO to keep extra deputies on duty without taking away from normal calls for service, as part of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
JCSO said that "prevention is the key," issuing the following tips for those who will be out enjoying spring break:
- DRINK OR DRIVE: Once you know where you'll celebrate, decide whether you're drinking or driving – choose only one and stick to it.
- WEED WARNING: Even though the recreational use of marijuana is legal for adults in Oregon, it is not legal (or safe) to drive while impaired by the drug.
- GETTING AROUND: Before you head out, know how you’re getting home. If you're the designated driver, don't drink. If you're impaired and your ride falls through, use a taxi or rideshare service, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
- PASSENGERS, TOO: Drivers aren't the only ones at risk. Only accept a ride from a sober driver.
- HELP A FRIEND: If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, help them to make other transportation arrangements or offer them a place to stay.
- SAY SOMETHING: If you suspect an impaired driver on the roadway, call 911 immediately.