A Medford man died Wednesday morning after he crashed his off-road motorcycle during a ride in the Applegate.
Eugene Lee Cannady, 71, was driving with several friends along a narrow stretch of Little Grayback Trail near the corner of French Gulch Road and U.S. Forest Service Road 3040 at around 11 a.m. when he crashed. The area is about six miles east of Applegate Lake.
"It seems that he went off trail (before he) crashed," said Andrea Carlson, spokeswoman for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
Several sheriff's deputies, Applegate Fire District No. 9 and Fire Crew 10 from the U.S. Forest Service hiked nearly two miles to the crash site after receiving the 911 call. Cannady was pronounced dead at the scene. Responding crews recovered his body and hiked out to the main road, which took two hours because of the area's remoteness, police said.
Applegate fire operations Chief Chris Wolfard said the terrain at the crash site is steep and rocky, making it difficult to reach. When crews arrived at the trailhead, some crew members made for the crash site for an initial assessment and assistance. They reached the location in about an hour. There, they confirmed Cannady's death. The remaining crew members arrived an hour later and were redirected to an easier access route.
Alcohol and substance abuse are not believed to have been factors in the crash, officials said. Whether an official autopsy will be performed is still being discussed, but blood samples will be taken for a toxicology screening. Results from those tests can take up to eight weeks to complete.
"In a crash situation like this, it's not common for us to do (an autopsy)," Carlson said.
Applegate fire officials said Cannady was wearing a helmet, though helmets are not required in the area where he crashed.
They added that Cannady was an experienced rider, and that it's not known how the crash occurred. Emergency calls for aid are not common in that trail area, officials said.
"I know it's a popular riding trail," Carlson said.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.