Late on Monday night, on Interstate 5 near milepost 44 in Jackson County, a wrong-way driver caused a two-vehicle crash. The incident occurred on September 18, 2023, at approximately 11:38p.
According to the preliminary investigation conducted by the Oregon State Police (OSP), an 85-year-old Central Point resident named Charles Melvin Cole was driving a Ford Mustang southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5. This resulted in a head-on collision with a Dodge Durango, operated by 67-year-old Carl Melborne Dewitt Jr. of Grants Pass. Tragically, Charles Melvin Cole was declared deceased at the scene.
Carl Melborne Dewitt Jr. and his passenger, 43-year-old Jeffrey Adam Dewitt, also of Grants Pass, were transported to a Medford area hospital for medical treatment. Fortunately, their injuries are expected to be minor, according to authorities.
Additionally, a Dodge ProMaster, driven by 30-year-old Evan Ryle Miller from Bellingham, Washington, was struck by debris from the crash, but emerged unharmed.
The Oregon State Police had received reports of a wrong-way driver merely 3 minutes prior to the crash being reported. The quick response from law enforcement was vital in mitigating further damage and injuries.
The aftermath of the accident had a significant impact on traffic, with the freeway being closed for approximately 3.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. OSP received assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Fire, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) during this challenging operation.
This is an ongoing investigation, Medford Alert will update this article as new information emerges.