Grants Pass gunmaker killed in vehicle crash

A successful Grants Pass gunmaker was killed Friday night after crashing his vehicle on a rural highway, Oregon State Police said in a news release.

John Noveske, 36, founder of Noveske Rifleworks, was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser west on Highway 260 near El Camino Way in Grants Pass at approximately 9:13 p.m. when he went wide around a curve, drove across the oncoming lane and a dirt highway shoulder until he struck two large boulders. The vehicle rolled, and Noveske, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was ejected.

Noveske's business supplies several law enforcement departments, including Medford police, with rifles.

The Medford Police Department purchases its SWAT and patrol rifles from Noveske, according to Chief Tim George.

"The Noveske rifle was the best quality around," George said. "One of the benefits of having your gunsmith close by was that it made for quality service."

Noveske would make trips to Medford to service the rifles and answer questions, George said.

"If we ever had a problem, Noveske himself would come down personally and make it right," George said. "We have bought his rifles for years and will continue to do so."

Medford police currently stock between 20 and 25 Noveske rifles, George said.

"Noveske was very well-known and very well-respected all over the country," George said.

The Military Times website published a release Saturday from Noveske Rifleworks that said the company's day-to-day operations would continue following Noveske's death.

The company said Noveske left behind a wife and children.

Oregon State Police, Rural Metro Fire Department and Oregon Department of Transportation responded to the accident. A crash investigation is ongoing.

Correction: The Associated Press contributed to this story. Credit was inadvertently left out of the original version.

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