Driver cited for fatality

The driver in the Feb. 13 fatal crosswalk accident involving Southern Oregon University student Gladys Jimenez has been cited after a police investigation of the event.

Lesley Orr, 59, a senior budget analyst at SOU, faces maximum fines of $499 for careless driving and $278 for failure to stop for a pedestrian. The charges do not carry the possibility of jail time, police said.

The Jackson County District Attorney's office and Ashland Police Department considered a more serious charge of criminally negligent homicide, but determined the evidence did not support the charge. A Breathalyzer test administered just after the accident and a urine sample analysis revealed no drug or alcohol use. Orr was traveling just over the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour, according to police skid mark analysis.

Orr appeared not to have seen Jimenez crossing Siskiyou Boulevard, witnesses told police, and did not brake. The accident occurred at 5:37 p.m., just before sunset.

Witnesses also told police Jimenez, 22, was talking on her cell phone in the crosswalk and did not appear to see the car. She was thrown 57 feet from the spot she was hit, according to the police investigation, resulting in severe head trauma, fractured vertebrae, a broken leg and lacerated liver. She was listed in critical condition at Rogue Valley Medical Center and passed away a week later, on Feb. 20.

Orr took personal time off from SOU after the accident, but he has returned to full-time work, said Christine Florence, a spokesperson for the university.

"This was a tragic accident that occurred in our city," said Deputy Chief Rich Walsh. "Everyone is sorry for the family and their loss. However, the investigation showed that this was an unfortunate accident that we hope will not occur again in this city if we take the right measures."

Police have conducted one crosswalk sting since the accident, ticketing both drivers and pedestrians, and more will be conducted in the future, Walsh said.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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