Did Medford police find the person responsible for hitting a 71-year-old bicyclist on Highway 99 as he pedaled to church in September 2017? If so, were they charged with any crimes (including, but not limited to, assault, hit-and-run, reckless driving and unsafe passing of a person on a bicycle)? How often is the crime of hit-and-run reported? What percentage are solved, the responsible party charged?
— Gary S.
We'll take this question by question, Gary.
Medford police have identified a suspect in the case you're referencing, but it hasn't made it to a courtroom.
But first, some background for people who might not know what we're talking about. As you said, this happened back in September, specifically the morning of Sept. 17. The victim in this case was traveling north on his way to church. Per police, he was doing everything right: He traveled on the right side of the road, wore a reflective vest and obeyed traffic laws.
A 2013 Honda Civic traveling the same direction struck him and threw him from his bicycle. Luckily, he avoided "serious" injury and was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment. The driver continued on, leaving a side mirror that broke off the car at the scene. Police found their suspect, 23-year-old Enrique Mendez, on Oct. 4, according to Lt. Kerry Curtis.
They charged him with third-degree assault and failure to perform the duties of the driver. They also have since found the vehicle that struck the 71-year-old man.
The Jackson County District Attorney's Office received the case Oct. 20, but it hasn't gotten to court yet.
"It's under review right now," said Jeremy Markiewicz, chief deputy district attorney.
Now, to your final two questions.
Hit-and-run reports are frequent in Medford. From January to September 2017 alone, there have been 521 hit-and-run reports, Curtis said. Of those cases, 110 have been resolved, either with an arrest or a determination that there was no actual case, he added.
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