Teens celebrating prom night were involved in a Sunday morning rollover crash on Old Stage Road that resulted in a 15-year-old being trapped under the vehicle with head injuries and the driver being cited for reckless driving, according to Jackson County sheriff's deputies.
James Jerald Peters, 19, of Medford, was cited and released by deputies at the scene for driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person.
Deputies say Peters showed signs of impairment from marijuana.
A 15-year-old male passenger was ejected and trapped under the overturned 2003 Ford Crown Victoria that landed on its roof in the 1800 block of Old Stage, according to sheriff's Sgt. Julie Denney. He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, but the extent of his injuries wasn't released. A 16-year-old male passenger fled the scene on foot but later arrived at Rogue Regional for evaluation of injuries. The names of the 16-year-old and 15-year-old passengers weren't released because they are minors, Denney said.
She said she didn't think the injuries to the 15-year-old were life-threatening, though Denney said the victim was unconscious and had suffered head injuries when emergency crews arrived.
"He was still at the hospital later that morning," Denney said.
She said part of his body was inside the vehicle and the other half was trapped underneath.
Denney said deputies sometimes cite and release drivers because if they are booked into jail, the county assumes the cost of medical care to determine whether they received any injuries from the crash.
"It's pretty costly for the county and the taxpayers to assume that," she said.
However, the driver could face additional charges from the Jackson County District Attorney's Office after the case has been reviewed, Denney said.
Witnesses told deputies that Peters was driving at high speeds and passing vehicles in a no-passing zone just prior to the crash. Sheriff's dispatch began receiving 911 calls reporting the crash at 3:09 a.m.
Witnesses also told deputies the vehicle was carrying teens and young adults who had just left a post-prom party attended by South Medford High School students.
According to sheriff's deputies, the red Crown Victoria left the roadway and crashed into bushes and a pole before overturning.
A total of five occupants, including the driver, were contacted by deputies. At least two of them were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, according to deputies. A sixth female occupant may have left the scene to avoid contact, deputies said.
Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Deputy Aaron Grissom at 541-774-6800. Refer to case 17-9625.
— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.