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Fatal Vehicle / Pedestrian Crash - Interstate 5 near Merlin
04/21/2009
Sergeant Jeff Fitzgerald
Oregon State Police - Grants Pass
Office: (541) 955-6372

Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are asking for the public's help to identify the involved vehicle and driver that struck and killed a man on Interstate 5 in the southbound lanes near Merlin in Josephine County. Monday night's incident happened about 1 1/2 miles south of the location of another unsolved fatal hit and run on April 2nd that also resulted in the death of a pedestrian.
 
On April, 20, 2009, at about 9:16 p.m. the OSP Southern Command Center dispatch received simultaneous reports related to a man in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near milepost 61. The first report was of a man jumping into traffic near the Merlin Interchange, and the second report was of a man down in the roadway at that same location.
 
OSP troopers from the Grants Pass worksite responded to the scene and confirmed that a pedestrian identified as THOMAS WILLIAM PIERCE, age 40, a known area transient from Grants Pass, was deceased in the roadway from apparent injuries after being struck by at least one motor vehicle.
 
People in two separate vehicles reported not striking the victim after swerving to avoid him.

ODOT, Rural Metro Fire, Josephine County Sheriffs Office and Stevens Family Chapel assisted at the scene.
 
This is the second pedestrian-involved fatal hit and run on Interstate 5 north of Grants Pass this month.
 
On April 2, 2009 at approximately 7:00 a.m. OSP and local emergency responders were notified of an injured or deceased adult male on the northbound shoulder of Interstate 5 near the Manzanita Rest Area at milepost 62. Troopers and medical personnel responded and found a deceased male who appeared to have been struck by an unknown vehicle.

 
The victim, BOBBY LEE FLEMING, age 57, was a known area transient.

 
A turn signal indicator lens found at the scene of the April 2nd incident was confirmed to have come from an unknown color 1995 to 2006 Freightliner truck, either the Argosy or Century model, that should have had right front end damage to the involved truck including a missing turn signal indicator.

 
Anyone with information regarding either case to help identify the involved vehicle and driver is asked to call OSP Southern Command Center dispatch at (541) 776-6111.