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Family man dies as Jeep tumbles

A Brookings man died Saturday when his Jeep plunged down an embankment after he tried to get it back onto a mountain road in Del Norte near the Oregon border.

Jason L. Roberts, 31, was driving with his family in his 2013 Jeep Rubicon north on Forest Service Road 112, also known as the McGrew Trail, shortly after  2 p.m. when the Jeep started to slide off the edge of the rock roadway and down an embankment, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Roberts was able to stop the vehicle and exit with his 29-year-old wife, Christina, and their two children, ages 3 and 4, the CHP said.

Roberts re-entered his Jeep in an attempt to get it back onto the road, but it lost traction and rolled almost 400 feet down an embankment.

Roberts was ejected from the vehicle and  died at the scene, CHP Sgt. Rick Thomas said.

Roberts did not appear to be wearing his seat belt, the CHP said.

The crash was deep in the mountains just off Low Divide Road about 30 miles from U.S. Highway 199, Del Norte Search and Rescue Coordinator Terry McNamara said. The road is also accessible from Highway 101 in Smith River using Rowdy Creek Road.

The SAR team was dispatched around 4:15 p.m. and arrived about an hour and 15 minutes later due to the rough roads, McNamara said.

“The road is somewhat steep and the bank is really steep,” said McNamara.

The SAR team then waited for a sheriff’s deputy to arrive on scene before recovering Roberts’ body.

The Smith River Fire Department, Del Norte Ambulance, California Highway Patrol and U.S. Forest Service also responded to the crash. CHP also had a helicopter available in case anyone needed to be flown out.

Roberts, a U.S. military veteran, recently moved from California to Brookings and had worked as a correctional officer for the California Department of Corrections for six years.

Memorial services for Roberts is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Church of the Nazarene, 1600 Chetco Avenue, Brookings.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the family to help aid in raising Robert’s two boys. Donations can be made in his name at the Brookings branch of Rogue Federal Credit Union. 

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