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OSP investigating driver's gunshot death in rural Douglas County

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DRAIN, Ore. — Oregon State Police has launched an investigation after a man driving along Highway 38 in Douglas County was struck by a bullet and later died in the hospital.

State troopers and deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded around 1:30 p.m. on November 30 to a call for assistance on I-5 near Yoncalla. Officers arrived to find that a driver had been struck by a bullet while driving along Highway 38 west of Drain.

The driver, identified as 72-year-old Larry Eugene Mell of Cottage Grove, was taken to Mercy Hospital in Roseburg before being airlifted to Riverbend Hospital in Springfield. In the early morning hours of December 1, investigators learned that Mell had passed away as a result of his injury.

After Mell's death, the Douglas County Major Crimes Team was activated to assist in the investigation. The team is comprised of members from the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, OSP, DCSO, and the Roseburg Police Department.

"The area between Putnam Valley Road and Roaring Camp Lane on Hwy 38 is where investigators believe the victim's red, 2003 Ram 2500 4-door pickup with a black ladder rack was struck by gunfire," OSP said. "Detectives don’t believe there is an ongoing threat to the community at this time and are looking for any additional witnesses or information that can help with the investigation."

Investigators are asking anyone who was in the area on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 or has specific information that might be helpful to call OSP at 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP (*677). Please reference OSP Case #SP21-335049.

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