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Fatal Traffic Crash - Interstate 5 north of Rice Hill
12/09/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

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Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Sutherlin Police Department, are continuing the investigation into Wednesday night's fatal traffic crash involving a vehicle attempting to elude officers northbound on Interstate 5 north of Rice Hill. One person died after arriving at a hospital and no officers were injured.
 
According to OSP Sergeant Dave Randall, on December 8, 2010 at approximately 7:30 p.m. a 1986 GMC pickup was reportedly involved in a hit and run collision northbound on Interstate 5 in the Roseburg area. About 15 minutes later, Sutherlin Police Officer Troy Mills saw the pickup northbound near milepost 136 and attempted to stop it. The pickup failed to yield, continuing northbound at speeds up to near 80 mph while using both lanes and shoulders of the freeway.
 
OSP Trooper Ray Dube was near Rice Hill and moved into position behind the pickup near milepost 150. With both officers continuing their attempt to have the driver pull over and stop, it continued northbound.
 
At approximately 7:54 p.m. Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Thornton parked his patrol car on the right northbound shoulder near milepost 151 with emergency lights activated. As Deputy Thornton was outside of the patrol car preparing to deploy spike strips, the pickup drove onto the right shoulder and crashed into the back of the deputy's car. Deputy Thornton dropped the spike strips and ran to avoid being struck when he saw the pickup coming at his patrol car.
 
The pickup's driver, JAMES ARTHUR PELKEY, age 44, from Marcola, was extricated from the pickup by fire personnel and transported to Cottage Grove Community Hospital by ambulance. PELKEY, whose driving privileges were suspended, was pronounced deceased on arrival.
 
The left northbound lane remained open for traffic while the investigation was conducted. The northbound lanes were both open around 11:30 p.m.
 
OSP troopers from the Roseburg Area Command office and an OSP crash reconstructionist are leading the investigation. Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Sutherlin Police Department, ODOT and Rice Hill Rural Fire Department assisted at the scene.