Traffic fatalities increase

Preliminary statistics for the 2009 Memorial Day holiday weekend indicates traffic fatalities were up from a year ago, as were Oregon State Police arrests on driving under the influence charges.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 11:59 p.m. Monday, five people died in four crashes. During the 2008 Memorial Day holiday two people died, while during the 2007 period 10 people died in crashes, OSP reported.

The death of Ryan Welch, a 29-year-old from Missouri, in an off-road vehicle accident Sunday in the Applegate was the only local fatal crash.

On Saturday a 22-year-old Redmond man died in a single vehicle roll-over on Highway 402 east of Monument in Grant County and a 19-year-old Dallas woman died after driving off a road in southeast Marion County and tumbling down an 80-foot embankment into the North Santiam River.

On Monday, two men were found dead inside a car that landed in heavy brush alongside Highway 26 east of the Mount Hood area.

Preliminary enforcement statistics for the long weekend noted troopers arrested 88 DUII drivers, up from last year's 79. Troopers working from the Central Point office made seven DUII arrests.

Across the county, Medford police teamed up with the OSP, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Ashland and Talent police to conduct a high visibility DUII saturation patrol between Ashland and Medford Saturday night.

The operation led to four DUII arrests, six for driving with a suspended license charges, one arrest on a charge of providing false information to police, 19 traffic violations, one person being cited for having an open alcohol container, and two people cited for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Six vehicles were impounded, Medford police reported.

— Anita Burke

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