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2 dead after motorcycle hits elk near Sams Valley

A motorcyclist and his passenger were killed in a crash near Sams Valley involving an elk.

Mark Nienhouse, 42, of Medford and passenger Jennifer Ayala, 30, of Central Point, were pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle crash on Highway 234 near milepost 12, according to a press release issued by Oregon State Police.

At about 10:44 p.m. Tuesday, Nienhouse was riding a Honda motorcycle with Ayala westbound on Highway 234 when they struck an elk in the roadway, according to OSP. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Fire District No. 3 and the Oregon Department of Transportation assisted OSP at the scene.