Tough trucks racer called 911 moments before father was killed by OSP

WILDERVILLE — Tough truck racer and paraplegic Kelsey Box called 911 to report her father was assaulting her minutes before he was shot and killed by Oregon State Police Saturday night, OSP reported this afternoon.

Kelsey Box called dispatch at about 10:27 p.m. and said her father, Robert Box, 55, was "physically assaultive and causing her injury," OSP said in a news release.

Troopers Heather West and Gregor Smyth responded and found Robert Box in his driveway at 108 Fir Canyon Road, armed with a handgun. Moments later, they radioed dispatch that shots had been fired and Box was down, the release said. They provided emergency medical care on scene, but Box was pronounced dead shortly after he was transported to Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, OSP said.

The troopers were not injured and have been placed on paid administrative leave pending results of the investigation, standard protocol in officer-involved shootings, the OSP said.

Lt. Bill Fugate, OSP public information officer, said troopers handled the call because the Josephine County Sheriff's Office does not have 24-hour patrol coverage. OSP has not yet released how many shots were fired or where on his body Box was hit. 

West, 41, joined OSP in 2007 and is assigned to OSP's Grants Pass office. Smyth, 46, also joined OSP in 2007 and is assigned to the Central Point Area Command. Both work in OSP's Patrol Services Division.

The Box home is about three miles south of Wilderville, which is about 10 miles west of Grants Pass. A day after the shooting, friend and co-worker Ben Watts of Williams recalled how Robert Box helped his daughter continue competing in tough truck racing after she was paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash in 2013.

"He built her that truck, made it so a person in a wheelchair could run it," Watts said.

Kesley Box has made a name for herself in the tough truck racing world, netting $3,500 in winnings from races across Oregon and in Northern California last year, according to Mail Tribune archives. Most recently, she participated in the Monster X Monster Trucks Tour in March at The Expo in Central Point.

Watts said Robert Box drove a self-loader for Gyppo, a logging company.

"This guy was a taxpaying man, a good father, a good worker and a good friend," Watts said. "I've known him for years."

Watts said his boss had talked to Box's wife, Bernie, who was out of town Friday night.

At the Wilderville Store, owner Laura Avants said Box was a regular customer.

"He was a well-known person who everybody liked," she said. "He was a good guy. It's sad."

Pursuant to Senate Bill 111 — Use of Deadly Force investigations — a multi-agency investigation coordinated by the Josephine County District Attorney is ongoing. Involved agencies include the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Josephine County District Attorney's Office, the OSP Criminal Investigations Division and the OSP Forensic Services Division.

The shooting was the second officer-involved fatality in the past year in Josephine County. In September, a man was shot and killed in a standoff with Grants Pass police on Blossom Drive in Grants Pass, which was the first fatal shooting in the line of duty involving the department that anyone could remember. The District Attorney's Office later found that Grants Pass police were justified in fatally shooting 29-year-old Daniel Diaz during the armed standoff. Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com.

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