Firefighters and police work at the scene of a head-on collision on Interstate 5 on Friday. - Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

Reason for freeway crash remains mystery

An Ashland man died Friday afternoon when his Toyota Corolla slammed head-on into a Rogue Valley Transportation District bus on Interstate 5 at the Phoenix interchange, closing the southbound lanes for about three hours.

Robert Edwin Dozier, 70, was heading northbound on I-5 in his 2004 Toyota Corolla about 12:38 p.m. when it crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic.

"For some unknown reason it came over through the median and hit the southbound RVTD bus. Not sure why," said Capt. Randie Martz, OSP southwest regional commander. "It's under investigation."

The Corolla was torn apart, scattering pieces across the highway. Witnesses said the engine was ejected from the car and landed on the pavement.

Dozier was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

The bus, an E-350 Ford Cutaway lift van, experienced significant front-end damage.

The bus was leased to Paratransit Services Inc. of Medford. Driver Michael Murray, 61, of Gold Hill, and passenger Craig Pritzlaff, 49, of Medford, were transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Pritzlaff was in a motorized wheelchair that was secured and Murray was wearing a seat belt, police said.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials redirected southbound traffic at the south Medford interchange to Highway 99 and back onto the freeway at the Phoenix interchange. The lanes reopened at 3:30 p.m.

OSP troopers from the Central Point Area Command office are continuing the investigation, according to a release. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Phoenix Police Department and Jackson County Fire District No. 5 assisted.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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