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Ashland police make arrests in alleged DUII crashes

Police say men damaged public property

Ashland police said Tuesday they investigated two drunk driving crashes in the previous three days that resulted in damage to publicly owned property.

Just past midnight Saturday, Medford resident Tramon Mitchell, 24, allegedly crashed his vehicle into a tree at the south end of Ashland’s downtown, snapping the tree at its base. The tree has traditionally been decorated with lights as part of Ashland’s Festival of Light event each winter.

Mitchell was lodged at the Jackson County Jail on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving, police said.

At about 7:46 p.m. Monday, Ashland resident Nicoa Sterling Cline, 31, allegedly crashed his vehicle into a Lithia Park sign at the front entrance to the park — narrowly missing a person standing near the sign.

An off-duty law enforcement officer detained Cline, who allegedly tried to flee the scene, until Ashland police arrived. An investigation indicated Cline was speeding through the downtown Plaza area, failed to negotiate a turn onto Winburn Way, left the road and collided with the sign, a light pole and a tree, police said.

Cline was lodged in jail on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, hit and run and criminal mischief, police said.

Cline has past convictions for third-degree escape, second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree disorderly conduct, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.

He has pending changes accusing him of second-degree theft from the Fire & Water Smoke Shop, plus first-degree burglary and second-degree theft charges from a case in which he allegedly stole nitrous oxide canisters, court records show.

People sometimes inhale nitrous oxide to get high, a dangerous practice that can lead to heart attacks and death from lack of oxygen. Prolonged use can lead to addiction, memory loss, incontinence, spasms, birth defects if used while pregnant, depression and psychosis, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Police reminded the public not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether they are legal or illegal. Doing so puts lives at risk, they said.