Deputies' speeding crackdown nets 470 citations

Jackson County lead-foots racked up 470 speeding citations across Jackson County over a five-month period as part of a state-led crackdown on motorists driving too fast.

Paid for by a $25,000 grant, Jackson County sheriff's deputies working overtime from May through September also issued 161 citations for other motor-vehicle infractions under a program designed to address the correlation between excessive speed and serious injury accidents, sheriff's deputies say.

And it's not like deputies have their radar guns set to go off at 5 mph over the limit.

Statistics from the program released Monday show that the average speeder nabbed in the program was traveling about 20 mph over the limit, and that ran the gamut regardless of the speed zone.

For Interstate 5's 65-mph zone, the average speeder cited in the program was 91 mph, with the top speeders each hitting 117 mph on Sgt. Dace Cochran's radar gun along Blackwell Road.

One woman celebrated Bastille Day by running her BMW to 117 mph, eventually attempting to elude Cochran before she was nabbed. A second was a kid in a Toyota TL sports car July 30, Cochran says.

Motorists traveling Old Stage Road between Jacksonville and Gold Hill had a heck of a time laying off the gas on a straightaway north of Scenic Drive, Cochran says.

"For the most part, it's 40 mph, but people don't want to go 40 (mph) there," Cochran says. "They want to go 55 or 60."

East Evans Creek Road drivers near Rogue River High School produced a plethora of tickets under the program, with one speedster hitting 81 mph in a 45-mph zone, Cochran says.

In all, deputies logged 362 overtime hours in the program. Their ticket tallies are independent of the county's four-person traffic team, Cochran says.

The grant is federal money doled out to Oregon counties by the Oregon Department of Transportation similarly to other programs targeting driving under the influence of intoxicants, distracted driving and seat-belt use.

The speeding program is a relatively new one, with Jackson County previously garnering anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 annually, Cochran says. This year's grant was bumped up to $25,000 in part because of the efficiency of Jackson County deputies in the program, he says.

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler says there are 990 miles of county-maintained roads here, and a lot of areas patrolled for speeding are based on complaints, with most neighborhoods and roads garnering complaints about excessive speeding at some time.

Places like Foothill Road between Medford and White City is a routine problem in part because it's designed with few areas for people to pull over if stopped for speeding, Sickler says.

"The complaints are all over, but the one road that's a real safety issue is Foothill Road," Sickler says.

"There are more problems than resources," he says.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or Follow him on Twitter at

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