PROSPECT – One person died and another was injured in a fiery crash early Sunday morning near Prospect. Medical examiner investigators have tentatively identified the decedent as a Prospect man.
On September 8, 2019, at 1:15 a.m., Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a motor vehicle crash in the 1800-block of Mill Creek Drive. Deputies say the vehicle, a 2007 Dodge Ram 2500, was southbound on Mill Creek Drive when it left the roadway, struck a tree, and then caught fire.
The driver was ejected into the bed of the pickup during the impact. Witnesses were unable to remove the driver from the pickup bed before it caught fire. Personnel from Prospect Fire responded to the scene to fight the fire, which spread to nearby vegetation.
An adult male passenger was able to walk away from the crash, but was injured. He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center by Mercy Flights ambulance for treatment.
An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene. Based on witness statements and available evidence, the driver has been tentatively identified as Justin Anthony Ghirardo, 41, of Prospect. Further investigation, including scientific studies, is underway to make an official determination of identification, as well as cause and manner of death. Ghirardo’s family has been notified.
Deputies say high speed and alcohol use are believed to be factors contributing to the crash. They are assisted in the ongoing crash investigation by the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team. Jackson County Roads personnel closed the roadway for several hours during the investigation and debris removal.