CENTRAL POINT — Community members expressed shock Monday at the sudden loss of Jackson County Surveyor Kerry Bradshaw, known for his longtime involvement in local schools and parks.
Bradshaw, 62, died Sunday in a single-car crash at about 5:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of Wilson Road in Central Point. He has been county surveyor since 2008.
"We are deeply saddened to hear this unfortunate news," Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan said in a prepared statement.
Jordan described Bradshaw as "good-natured, easygoing, carefree, and a strong leader for Jackson County government and our residents."
A witness told Jackson County sheriff's deputies that Bradshaw's vehicle was traveling along a straight stretch before it appeared to increase speed and veer off the roadway, striking a tree, sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.
Bradshaw was pronounced dead at the scene, Carlson said.
An accident-reconstruction team was in the process Monday of investigating the incident, Carlson said.
The initial investigation did not lead investigators to suspect that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, Carlson said.
Deputy State Medical Examiner Dr. James Olson was scheduled to look over the case today and decide whether to conduct an autopsy, Carlson said. If no autopsy is done, toxicology tests would be ordered and their results likely would be returned in six to eight weeks, Carlson said.
Bradshaw's live-in girlfriend, Linda Genaw, said the couple had used a rental car over the weekend and that he was driving to refuel and return it at the time of the crash.
"He said, 'I'll call you when it's time to come and get me,' but I never heard from him," Genaw said Monday.
"It was really unlike Kerry not to call, so I had a bad feeling right away."
Genaw said she drove around looking for Bradshaw, who had complained of feeling dizzy earlier in the weekend and had planned to see a doctor. She was notified late Sunday night by a police chaplain of Bradshaw's death.
Genaw and Bradshaw dated in high school but the two drifted apart.
"He always remembered my birthday every year and a couple years ago — we had both been divorced — he looked me up and we started going together again," said Genaw, noting she proposed to Bradshaw on Leap Day, when tradition holds that women can propose to men.
"On Saturday, he finally told me that he would marry me, and we had the most wonderful weekend anyone could imagine," she said. "And then this happened. This just goes to show how life can change in the blink of an eye."
A Southern Oregon native and Crater High School graduate, Bradshaw had worked in Jackson County as an Oregon-licensed, professional land surveyor since 1986. He served as surveyor for the city of Medford from 1989 to 2001. In 2008, he was elected county surveyor and was re-elected in May to serve another four-year term.
He also served on the Central Point School District board for almost 16 years, Central Point Parks Commission for a half-dozen years, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Foundation for four years and was active in the Central Point Rotary since 2005.
County Commissioner Don Skundrick said Bradshaw's assistant, Scott Fein, would handle Bradshaw's duties until a replacement can be determined.
"Due to the shortness of time between now and the November election, we don't know for sure if we can get it on the ballot, so we're exploring our options as far as replacing Kerry, which will be a very hard thing to do," Skundrick said.
"Kerry will be sorely missed by the county and by his community."
Central Point Parks and Recreation Manager Matt Samitore said Bradshaw was "a genuinely wonderful human being."
"This is a great loss," Samitore said. "There's not many people out there who commit the amount of time that he did to making their community a better place to live and who genuinely care about other people the way that he did."
Kerry is survived by two daughters. Information on services will be posted on the Central Point Community Facebook page.
Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. E-mail her at email@example.com. Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman contributed to this story.