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Fallon arraigned on several charges

Grief-stricken family and friends of Geoffrey Fennell packed a Jackson County courtroom Monday to hear the charges against the woman whose car struck Fennell on Friday.

Fennell, 25, died Sunday morning of injuries suffered in the 10:30 p.m. crash on North Riverside Avenue.

"Geoffrey was a very unique person," said his mother Tami Fennell.

Eva Irene Fallon, 51, appeared before Circuit Judge Ray White for her arraignment via a video link from the Jackson County Jail. She bit her lip and sniffled as White read the charges and sanctions they would carry upon conviction — second-degree manslaughter, at least six years and three months and up to 10 years in prison; third-degree assault, up to five years in prison; and driving under the influence of intoxicants. She also is held on a probation violation warrant.

Fennell and his girlfriend, Amber Leigh Lough, 25, had just left Mr. Smith's bar and were crossing Riverside Avenue near the intersection with East Jackson Street on Friday night. Fallon was driving north on Riverside when her car hit the couple. Fennell's head hit the car's windshield, causing major injuries, police said. Lough was treated and released for minor injuries and credited Fennell for pushing her out of the path of the car, Tami Fennell said.

Fennell's parents, Tami and Jon Fennell of White City, said about 60 people who loved their son were able to visit him at the hospital before he died, coming two by two into the intensive care unit.

Geoff Fennell was born in Grants Pass on Memorial Day, May 31, 1982, his mother said. He attended school in Prospect and graduated from high school there. She said he was close to his extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. His younger brother, Steven, especially looked up to him.

Fallon has two past drug convictions, Jackson County Circuit Court records show. She pleaded guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine in October 2006 and was sentenced to 20 days in jail and two years of probation. In April 2007, she pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months' probation. Her probation in the 2006 case was revoked at that time and she was sentenced to six months in jail. She violated probation again since her release, resulting in the warrant she was arrested on Friday.

Medford police said she was suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance Friday, leading to her arrest on the DUII charge.

Fallon requested a court-appointed attorney Monday and a preliminary hearing was set for next week.

Police said the investigation into the fatal crash is ongoing. Authorities must determine who had the right of way at the intersection and toxicology tests from all those involved will be evaluated, Lt. Tim Doney said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or aburke@mailtribune.com