MEDFORD, Ore. — The former UPS driver accused of shooting at drivers along I-5 in southern Oregon received his sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court on Tuesday after victims of the shootings delivered their statements.
State troopers arrested 49-year-old Kenneth Ayers in August following a string of shootings along the Interstate corridor between Douglas, Josephine, and Jackson counties — one of which injured a woman near Central Point.
A grand jury indicted Ayers on a total of 34 counts in December. Though the shootings took place in three separate counties, Ayers agreed to have all of the charges tried in Jackson County.
Last week, Ayers agreed to plead guilty on 15 counts in total — three counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, five counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, two counts of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, three counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and two counts of Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.
According to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, Ayers will serve 20 years in prison for his crimes. The terms of his post-prison supervision are still being determined, but most of the charges carried supervision terms of one to three years. There will also be a hearing on restitution for the victims to be held at a later date.
"During today’s sentencing a number of victims addressed the court and expressed how traumatic this event was and the impact it had on their lives," the DA's Office said. "Ayers declined to make a statement regarding the case or his motive for the shootings."
Oregon State Police investigated eight separate shootings between Central Point and Roseburg, stretching from May to August of 2020. During the investigation, a number of victims told police that they had been driving near a semi-truck when the shootings happened — some identifying a UPS double or triple trailer.
On August 19, a woman was shot in the shoulder while driving on I-5 northwest of Central Point. Witnesses said that a UPS truck had been getting on the freeway at the same time.
State troopers later stopped a UPS truck in Douglas County, identifying the driver as Ayers. He was employed as a UPS truck driver at the time of the shootings.
OSP forensic experts were able to determine that the gun used in each of the shootings was a .45 Auto Caliber Hi-Point, model JHP, semi-automatic pistol. After stopping Ayers and obtaining a search warrant for his truck, OSP troopers found the same model of pistol in Ayers' truck. According to the DA's office, Ayers admitted that the gun was his.
The investigation also obtained GPS and ELD information from UPS, lining up Ayers' location with each of the shootings.
Before May of 2020, Ayers drove a route for UPS that took him north of Roseburg, investigators said. He was put onto a route south of Roseburg around the same time that the first known shooting occurred.