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MailTribune.com
  • PUBLIC SAFETY

    Former congressman involved in Medford fatal crash

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  • A former U.S. congressman for Oregon's 2nd District was involved in a crash this morning in southwest Medford that killed a pedestrian, Medford police say.
    Bob Smith, 84, of Medford, was driving his 2015 Acura MDX northbound on King Street at about 8:35 a.m. when he made a left turn onto Stewart Avenue, striking a pedestrian in the crosswalk, Medford police said. The pedestrian, 58-year-old Jerry Mark Hughes of Medford, died at the scene, police said. Hughes had been walking south on King Street and crossing Stewart Avenue when he was struck, police said.
    Smith waited for police at the scene and has been cooperating with investigators, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said. Smith was not under the influence of intoxicants, police said.
    A family member reached today declined comment on Smith's behalf.
    Budreau said investigators will have to determine whether there was a walk signal when Hughes tried to cross and whether he was walking or running. They also have to determine whether Smith, who was in a dedicated turn lane, had a green arrow when he turned.
    "We're still trying to determine what that sequence was at the time," Budreau said, adding much of the agency investigation will be filled in by witness statements. "But I don't know if we're going to be able to conclusively say with 100 percent certainty what the lights were at the time of the crash."
    Once the investigation is concluded, it will be forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.
    Smith is a former state and U.S. congressman who served 12 years in the Oregon House, followed by 10 in the Oregon Senate before serving 14 years as U.S. representative for the 2nd Congressional District.
    King Street and Stewart Avenue were blocked off until 11:20 a.m., with detours in place, while the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team investigated the scene with Medford police.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.
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