Authorities have identified a man who died Sunday morning on Interstate 5 near Grants Pass, and now are looking for his next of kin.
Oregon State Police and the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office used fingerprints from a string of arrests across Oregon to confirm the identity of Ronald Humphreys, 67, said OSP Sgt. Mark Byrd. Addresses he had provided to authorities, though, proved false.
Humphreys was driving south on the freeway at about 6:05 a.m. Sunday when his 1993 Dodge Caravan veered onto the gravel shoulder for an unknown reason, crash investigators said. He tried to regain control and swerved back onto the pavement, Oregon State Police said. The van skidded and rolled several times before coming to rest on the west side of the freeway between two trees. He was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
The van had Oregon license plates, but Humphreys apparently had bought it recently and records weren't updated, Byrd said. He didn't have a driver's license.
"There are people like that," Byrd said, noting that some people choose not to carry identification.
Investigators tracked leads, hoping to determine who the dead man was and where he was from. His fingerprints led to his arrest records in Marion, Lane, Josephine and several other Oregon counties, as well as in Utah.
He had listed addresses in California, Oregon and Utah, but only one of those — in Melville, Utah — named an actual place and no one there knew Humphreys, Byrd said. Lane County Circuit Court records on a theft conviction in March, for example, list an address on Southeast A St., Grants Pass, but A Street has northwest and northeast addresses.
With teams of investigators from various police agencies across several states hitting dead ends, OSP turned to the public for help in finding Humphreys' family. Police released his name and photo from a recent jail booking in Lane County in hopes someone will recognize him and know how to find his relatives.
They ask anyone who knows where Humphreys' family members are to contact police. Call Jackson County Assistant Medical Examiner Tim Pike at 776-6236, ext. 251, or OSP's southern dispatch center at 1-800-442-2068.
Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.