Ice blamed in Central Point fatal car crash

18-year-old student likely lost control, police believe

An 18-year-old Medford woman died in a crash in the 5900 block of North Foothill Road in Central Point after losing control of her vehicle on the icy road Wednesday morning.

Shelbi Stevens, a North Medford High School graduate, was driving north on North Foothill Road in a 1985 Volkswagen Jetta shortly after 8 a.m. when she lost control while going around a corner.

The Jetta slammed into a 2002 Toyota Camry driven by Ashley Villarreal, 27, of Eagle Point, a news release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.

Stevens was pronounced dead at the scene, said Jackson County Fire District No. 3 Battalion Chief Arlen Blenkush.

Investigators suspect Stevens lost control because of icy conditions.

"The roads were definitely icy," said Blenkush, adding Stevens was not ejected from the vehicle, and she was wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.

"That part of (North Foothill Road) never sees sunlight during the winter and gets very icy. When we have this freezing fog, it just builds up," Blenkush said.

Villarreal was taken to Providence Medford Medical Center and released Wednesday afternoon, according to hospital staff.

Stevens played softball at North Medford High School and is missed by her former teammates, said coach Mike Mayben.

"We met with the kids," Mayben said. "They are pretty torn up. Shelbi was a great kid. And our hearts go out to her family during this tragedy."

Stevens was "involved in a variety of activities, including athletics," said Principal Ron Beick, adding the school will provide counseling for students and staff in the face of the tragedy.

Medford Fire-Rescue and Mercy Flights assisted at the scene.

North Foothills Road was closed temporarily while emergency responders removed debris and investigated the crash.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.


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