On March 27, 2014 at approximately 3:17 a.m., OSP, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, local fire and medical personnel, and ODOT were dispatched to a reported traffic crash involving a wrong way driver in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near milepost 24. The crash involves two vehicles with one confirmed fatality.
Preliminary investigation indicates a silver 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by RICHARD WEBSTER SCOTT, age 42, from Grants Pass, was driving northbound in the right hand southbound lane of Interstate 5 when it collided head-on with a southbound 2006 Honda Civic driven by KAREN LEE GREENSTEIN, age 58, from Ashland.
SCOTT was extricated from the vehicle and taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center with serious injuries.
GREENSTEIN was ejected from her vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene. Investigators learned GREENSTEIN worked over 20 years for several Jackson County-area emergency dispatch centers and was enroute home after completing her shift at Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon.
OSP troopers and collision reconstructionist from the Central Point Area Command office are continuing the investigation. OSP is asking any witnesses who have not spoken to investigators to call OSP Southern Command Center dispatch at 541-776-6111. Investigators are looking for witnesses to any driving prior to the fatal crash involving the silver 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan along Interstate 5, including information related to a report that prior to the crash a vehicle matching the van’s description was seen sideways on the southbound off ramp at exit 21 about three miles south of the scene.
OSP is being assisted by Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Medford Police Department, Jackson County District Attorney's Office, local fire personnel and ODOT.
Alcohol is being investigated as a contributing factor on part of the offending driver. Safety restraint use by both drivers is pending confirmation. OSP is investigating this crash as a criminal investigation.
The southbound lanes are still closed at this time. Traffic updates may be monitored on ODOT's website TripCheck.com.
Wrong way drivers present an obvious danger to all motorists on our highways. The most recent available crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong way drivers are involved in 1.5% of all fatal crashes nationally. Wrong way drivers usually drive in the inside lane or inside shoulder, believing they are actually on a two-lane highway. Most common types of wrong way driver involved crashes are head-on or sideswipe crashes.
The following information and safety tips are offered related to wrong way drivers.
Who is the wrong way driver?
* Intoxicated driver
* Older drivers who easily get confused
* Intentional drivers (example - trying to avoid traffic jams / congestion caused by crashes)
* Inattentive drivers who mistake an off ramp for an on ramp
* Watch far ahead for signs of a possible wrong way driver, looking for signs similar to pending problems or developing emergency situations such as other traffic braking or swerving to avoid something, or the obvious - headlights coming in the opposite direction.
* Caution against driving long periods in the inside lane on freeways, especially on curves.