Rogue Valley News, Thursday, Aug. 8th – Big X Intersection Work Begins, Man Pleads Guilty in Deadly Crash, Grants Pass with Officer-Involved Shooting

The latest Rogue Valley News from RogueValleyMagazine.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019

Weather for the Rogue Valley

Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 89.  Overnight, some clouds, low of 61.

Friday
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms at times, high near 87. Overnight low of 60.

Saturday
A chance of showers or thundershowers at times, with a high near 77.

Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 86.

Monday
Sunny, with a high near 92.

ROGUE VALLEY HEADLINES….

A local man entered a guilty plea for criminally negligent homicide on Wednesday, according to the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. The charge stemmed from a crash in January of 2018 that cost the life of a 7-year-old girl.

The DA’s office said that 25-year-old Devyn James Baldovino had been driving his 1985 Ford truck eastbound on Highway 140 around 6:30 p.m. on January 29, 2018. Also on Highway 140, at the intersection with Lakeview Drive, Jordan Bailey was stopped with her left turn signal on as she waited to turn. Bailey was driving a Scion with her three children in the car.

Baldovino ran squarely into the back of Bailey’s car.

“A witness on scene indicated that Mr. Baldovino never braked prior to colliding with Mrs. Bailey’s car,” the DA’s office said.

First responders found Bailey and two of her children injured in the crash. 7-year-old Madison Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene.  Investigators did not find evidence that Baldovino was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, nor could they get an accurate calculation of his speed. However, a trooper did seize Baldovino’s phone after coming to suspect that the case involved distracted driving.   Data from the phone indicated that Baldovino sent a number of text messages while driving between when he left work at 6:17 p.m. and when a witness made the 911 call about the crash just after 6:30 p.m.

“Although there is no way to tell if Mr. Baldovino was using his phone at the time of impact, the evidence from his phone clearly established he was distracted while driving and not focused on the roadway in front of him,” the DA’s office said.

Following Baldovino’s guilty plea on Wednesday, Judge Lorenzo Mejia delivered an 18-month suspended prison sentence, 3 years of probation, and 90 days in jail “up front.” If Baldovino serves out his probation without violating the terms, he will not have to serve the prison time.

“This case serves as an example of the dangers of distracted driving and cell phone usage,” the DA’s office said. “A seven year old girl lost her life, and her family is forever impacted by the events of this night. Those same events and choices will also haunt Mr. Baldovino for the balance of his life.”

A man sought in an Oregon State Police investigation is dead following an officer-involved shooting at the agency’s office in Grants Pass late on Tuesday morning.  Officers with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety say that several troopers received minor injuries during the deadly incident.

Investigators quickly gathered at the OSP offices with a mobile command unit — erecting a canopy over the crime scene in front of the building. In a brief statement released at noon, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) confirmed that its officers and detectives were on the scene of the fatal officer-involved shooting.

“The scene is secure and there is no threat to the public. Further details will follow as they are available,” the agency said.

Later in the afternoon, Josephine County District Attorney Ryan Mulkins delivered another brief statement with more details on the incident. The man killed in the shooting, 39-year-old Brandon Christopher Jones, was a suspect in an Oregon State Police investigation.

Jones and OSP troopers reportedly got into an altercation at the office around 10:30 a.m. when the troopers attempted to take Jones into custody. Mulkins said that Jones tried to wrest one of the trooper’s guns away during the scuffle — prompting at least one of the troopers to open fire. Jones died at the scene.

The DA declined to say how many troopers were involved, what the state of their aforementioned injuries were, or how many of them may have fired at Jones. An investigation into the incident will continue.

Court records indicate that Jones had a lengthy criminal record in Josephine County, including both violent and sexual crimes. He became a registered sex offender following a 2012 conviction on two counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse in the Second Degree.

Oregon House Republican Leader Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass) released a statement on Tuesday afternoon thanking the OSP troopers that “likely saved lives” in the shooting.

“The quick and heroic action of dedicated OSP Troopers saved lives and protected the public today,” said Rep. Wilson. “We are deeply thankful to the brave troopers who courageously performed their duties under life-threatening circumstances. We should all pause every day — not just in the wake of a crisis — to appreciate the dedicated and brave first responders in our midst.”

This is a developing story. NewsWatch 12 has a reporter at the scene and we are working to bring you more details.

In Ashland, the City Council picked up the Second Reading of Ordinance 3176 where the members first had to put it down in July. The councilors were supposed to vote on the ordinance then, but ran out of time.

Tuesday night, the City Council passed the Ashland ID ordinance 4-1. City Councilor Julie Akins was the only councilmember to vote ‘no.’ One councilor was not present at Tuesday night’s meeting.  The room was packed with people against the vote. As soon as the ordinance passed, many left. Some stood up and turned their backs to the City Council.

“This disproportionately affects people of color, people in the trans community, non-binary folks. It’s something we don’t want in our community and to be going down that pathway,” said Ashland resident Sarah Spansail who was at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The City Council did amend a part of the ordinance in regards to ‘probable cause’ that had some concerned. The ordinance originally allowed an Ashland police officer to ask for someone’s name and birthday if there was probable cause that that person has broken an Ashland law. Now the ordinance gets rid of probable cause. An officer has be issuing a citation.

“I’m hopeful that that adjustment can mitigated some of the anxiety that’s out there. It does not substantially change the manner of the ordinance,” said Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara.

Ordinance 3176 says if an Ashland police officer is trying to write someone a citation and they knowingly don’t give their name and date of birth, they can be arrested. They also face 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

“This gets us better aligned to fulfill our mandate and fulfill core functions of a police department.” Chief O’Meara added.

Despite the change, many are still very concerned about this new law.

“It doesn’t make us feel safer as a community,” Spansail said. “It makes me feel less safe knowing we’re heading in the direction of more Draconian and kind of fascist laws.”

The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days. It will expire a year later to study its impacts and how it’s been used.

Working on the dangerous Big X.   The Oregon Department of Transportation is working to make the “Big X” intersection in Medford more accessible to people with disabilities. This area is near the Rogue Valley Mall and the Northgate Marketplace. 

Officially, the “Big X” is the intersection of OR-99, OR-238 and OR-62.

Workers will be out on the road from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. During this time, some lanes will be closed, but traffic will still be able to flow in both directions. 

The project is mainly focused on updating curbs and ramps. 

Tactile pads will be added to sidewalk ramps, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. These are yellow, bumpy sheets of plastic that can help visually impaired people know they’re about to step onto the street. Workers are also making sure that ramps are not too steep. 

When construction is finished, crosswalk signs will be able to speak and verbally tell people when they can and cannot cross the street. 

These improvements ensure the intersection meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation is working on a total of 26 ramps in the intersection. That’s why the work is expected to last until the end of August or early September. Once this project is completed, ODOT will be updating the pavement along this stretch of road. 

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