Driver of burning car dies of gunshot wound

Police have not released the name of the man who refused to leave a burning car on Highway 101 south of Reedsport Tuesday. He was shot and critically injured by a police officer. (photo by Devon Graham.)
24 December 2014

Erratic Driver Dies from Gunshot Wound

A 55-year old Roseburg man died last night at Reedsport’s Lower Umpqua Hospital after being shot by police. Robert J. Jenkins was the driver of a car that witnesses said had been driving erratically on Highway 101 south of Reedsport before stopping in the middle of the roadway just before nine AM Tuesday.

Witnesses said the car caught fire and the driver of an empty school bus approached with a fire extinguisher but retreated when Jenkins waved what appeared to be a weapon.

Police arrived and ordered Jenkins from the burning vehicle. He refused. He was subsequently shot by an unnamed Reedsport officer.

The Douglas County Major Crimes Team is continuing the investigation into the incident near the Surfwood RV Park, two miles south of Reedsport that closed the highway for several hours yesterday.


Peace Harbor Emergency Dept. Gets Big Pledge

The drive to raise $5-million for a major expansion and renovation of the Emergency Department at Peace Harbor Medical Center got a boost this week with the news of a $50-thousand pledge. Siuslaw Bank is currently in the process of being acquired by Washington based Banner Bank and the two teamed up for the donation. Siuslaw President and CEO Lonnie Iholts said the first $10-thousand dollars will come from Siuslaw Bank, with the remainder paid by Banner in four annual installments.

Dianne Larsen, a Senior Vice President for Banner, said being involved in the community is very important to them.

“Banner Bank is a community bank. We might not be headquartered in Florence, but we are a community bank.”

Kay King, the Volunteer Chair of the fund drive committee, said the news of the major pledge came at a good time.

“And it really, honestly gave me goose bumps at a day when I needed a little bit of help to get moving. Because as we all know, that last little bit is the very hardest.”

The Peace Harbor Foundation went public with the fund drive on the project this fall, announcing they had received pledges of the first $4-million. Since then they’ve announced pledges of more than $100-thousand. They say they hope to break ground in early spring.

The cost of driving continues to go down.

The average cash price for regular gas in Florence fell ten cents a gallon in the past week to $2.60.

That’s a 30-cent drop in three weeks and is the lowest average price in Florence since 2009.

This week’s fall contrasts with a 15-cent drop on the national and Oregon statewide averages. The Oregon average, according to Triple-A, is $2.63 while the national average price is $2.38.

Reminder for Arson Reward Offer

Arson investigators looking into the cause of an early morning fire earlier this month in Florence are reminding residents about a reward of up to $5-thousand for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

The fire destroyed the building housing Emergence Treatment Center and the law offices of Ron Gerber and Scott Bailey December 7th. Oregon State Arson Detective Joe Feland (FEE-lund) said the reward is offered by the Oregon Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators and the Northwest Insurance Council. Tips can be phoned in to the arson hotline… 800-452-7888.

Churches Offer Christmas Services

Several churches have scheduled special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

The Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw has a special service at five this evening; St. Mary’s Catholic Church will hold a mass at 5:30; Community Baptist will have a candlelight service at six. Resurrection Lutheran will also have a candlelight service; their’s is set for seven.

St. Andrews Episcopal will offer Holy Communion at eight PM this evening followed by another rite tomorrow morning at ten. St. John the Apostle in Reedsport will have Mass at 8:45 tomorrow; St. Mary’s in Florence has mass at 11.