Teen driver breaks back in crash; passengers injured

A teenage driver who rolled her car outside Ashland is in serious condition with a broken back and her three passengers are also hospitalized after a crash Tuesday night.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said Samantha Laverne Loper, 17, of Ashland, was speeding in her Dodge Neon south on North Valley View Road when she missed a right curve. The car skidded about 200 feet on the road, then left the roadway and launched into the air, hurtling roughly 100 feet before hitting the ground again and rolling multiple times.

The crushed and battered car landed on its wheels in a field near the intersection with East Valley View Road, the sheriff said.

Crews from Jackson County Fire District No. 5 and Ashland Fire and Rescue had to extricate Loper and her three young passengers. All were taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center by ambulance.

Passengers Devian Lynn Joss, 15; Miranda Christina Joss, 12; and Ila Jade McTaggart, 12, all of Ashland, were listed in good condition today, Winters said.

“They are absolutely lucky to be alive,” he said. “They were traveling well in excess of a reasonable speed for the area.”

Crash reconstructionists from the sheriff’s department and Medford police are investigating the crash and charges are pending, Winters said.

— Anita Burke

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