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He dropped his gun and saved his own life

A Prospect man came close to being shot by a deputy after he had a rollover crash in a minivan, then retrieved a stolen gun from the vehicle and initially refused commands to drop the weapon.

Jacob Benjamin Hefner, 35, of the 700 block of Cookum Lane was arraigned Monday on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, methamphetamine possession, resisting arrest and criminal driving with a suspended or revoked license. He is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bail.

On Saturday afternoon, Jackson County Fire District 3 medics arrived at the scene of a rollover crash in the 9600 block of Blackwell Road between Central Point and Gold Hill, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy arrived and saw Hefner standing and talking with a medic. Hefner had a bloody nose and mouth and seemed very agitated, according to a probable cause affidavit.

While the deputy went back to his patrol vehicle to get latex gloves, Hefner got into the minivan. The deputy returned and could see through the vehicle’s windows, the affidavit said .

“Still seeing sporadic and quick movements through the windows, I drew my pistol and cautiously stepped to the side, gaining a greater view as I went,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit. “Hefner appeared very abruptly from the passenger side of the van. In his left hand I could see him palming something, initially I didn’t know what. After a very short time I could clearly see a stainless steel revolver. His grip on the gun was very awkward looking and it looked as though he was trying to keep it from my view.”

Hefner yelled at the deputy, who yelled back for him to drop the gun and get on the ground.

“I continued to yell commands which he did not follow,” the deputy wrote. “I stepped slightly to the side and began slowly applying pressure to the trigger of my pistol. Hefner abruptly dropped to the ground and sat the gun next to him in the dirt.”

With his pistol still drawn, the deputy ordered Hefner to lie on the ground and tried to pin Hefner’s head down with his boot while maneuvering between Hefner and the gun in the dirt. The deputy told Hefner not to move toward the gun, the affidavit said.

The deputy wrote Hefner was wiggling continuously and yelling, “Just shoot me!”

Another deputy arrived and while Hefner was being forcefully taken into custody, a folding knife fell out of his pocket. He was also found with a sunglasses case containing a Ziploc bag with meth, and ammunition of various calibers was found in the minivan, the affidavit said.

The gun Hefner retrieved from the minivan was reported stolen to the Medford Police Department in September, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hefner told a deputy he traded meth for the gun two or three days prior to the crash, the affidavit said.

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler lauded the deputies for their response to the situation.

“This case just goes to show that there are no ‘routine’ calls in law enforcement,” Sickler said. “The deputies handled this stressful situation with courage and prevented anyone from being injured.”

Blackwell Road resident Rose McCann said Hefner drove through several mailboxes, crashed through her fence and narrowly missed above-ground valves for a buried natural gas pipeline. He also scraped against her front yard tree, barely avoiding a head-on collision with the oak.

McCann said the crash was so loud she thought Hefner had collided with another vehicle. She said Hefner had passed other vehicles on the rural road, which has curves and hills with poor sight lines.

“We’re just really lucky he didn’t hit another car,” McCann said.

She said the crash also could have easily caused a fire in the tinder dry conditions.

McCann said she witnessed deputies struggling to take Hefner into custody.

“A fireman got me and got me behind a sheriff’s truck,” she said of a paramedic’s efforts to get her behind protective cover. “He was quite serious.”

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

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