Rollover requires difficult rescue

A driver faces possible paralysis after rolling his truck more than 300 feet down an embankment Wednesday night along Dead Indian Memorial Road near Ashland, police said.

The 39-year old man, whose name was not made available late Wednesday, was driving his Chevrolet pick-up in the 12000 block of Dead Indian Memorial Road at near a spot known as Windy Point when the vehicle left the road and was sent rolling down the steep embankment, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

"It was quite a steep drop from where he was," Winters said. "We are estimating a 50 to 60 percent slope right now."

The man was ejected from the pickup and rolled further down the embankment. The pick-up came to rest on its side on the grassy slope.

It is not known whether he was wearing a seatbelt, Winters said.

Neighbors in the area made the call to 9-1-1. Jackson County Fire District 5 and Ashland Fire and Rescue crews were dispatched to the scene.

They arrived on the scene at around 7:30 p.m. and faced a difficult rescue situation.

"We knew that we would have to rappel down to the crash scene," said District 5 Captain Vince Lockett. "We had to make sure we arrived at his location quickly to stabilize the patient."

District 5 and Ashland fire called in their rope rescue teams to work together to made the long journey down to where the man's body came to rest.

He told the crews his name was "Jeff" after they arrived at his location, Lockett said.

A Mercy Flights helicopter buzzed the area and helped the crews find the location of the crash scene, Lockett said.

Once they traveled the 300 feet down the slope the 10-person rescue team found he had suffered potentially serious injuries to his lung and spine, Lockett said.

"He had diminished lung capacity when we met him and he said he had no feeling below his waist," Lockett said. "We knew we had to work quickly to make sure he made it out of the crash scene."

The rope team lowered the man another 200 feet to a gravel road in the 11600 block of Dead Indian Memorial Road. The Mercy Flights helicopter met them at the road. He was flown to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, Winters said.

The man's condition was not available late Wednesday. Winters said he should be able to release his identity sometime today.

District 5 and Ashland fire was assisted at the scene by Oregon State Police troopers. The investigation into the crash in continuing, Winters said.

"We do not know where he lives or where he was going when he crashed," Winters said. "We will most likely send crash reconstruction team to the area to find out the circumstances surrounding the incident."

The rescue was a good example of how various emergency crews in the Rogue Valley can work together in a crisis, Winters said.

"These fire departments did an exceptional job in making it to the scene quickly and pooling their resources together in order to make sure this man has a fighting chance of making off this slope alive," Winters said.

Winters said they would most likely let the pick-up remain where it came to rest throughout Wednesday night. It could be towed away from the slope sometime today after crash investigators leave the scene.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

Share This Story