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June 26, 2013
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Douglas County judge: insufficient reason to hold Sublimity man before tasing death

A Sublimity man who died Saturday after being shocked with a Taser by Roseburg police had been released from jail an hour earlier because a judge found insufficient grounds to hold him for a reckless driving incident the evening before, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Gregory Allen Price, 56, was jumping on moving cars on Douglas Avenue in front of the courthouse at about 3:15 p.m. and refused to cooperate with two officers, police said. He was hit with pepper spray and a Taser and stopped breathing while being taken into custody. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The sheriff’s office Tuesday confirmed the man’s identity and released more details about his arrest Friday evening at the Diamond Lake Resort.

In a document outlining the reason for the arrest, a deputy reported that Price drove a vehicle in a walkway in front of guest rooms, endangering anyone who might have stepped outside.

In an interview today with The News-Review, the resort’s operations coordinator, Rick Rockholdt, said the doors were only 2 or 3 feet from Price’s Chevrolet Tahoe.

“If anyone had stepped out of the door, they would have been in danger,” Rockholdt said. “There was no room to maneuver, no room for a pedestrian to go anywhere.”

The resort suffered no damage, Rockholdt said. Price’s side mirror was damaged, deputies said.

A few people sat with Gregory Price in the resort’s laundry room until deputies arrived, he said. “The gentleman was not coherent. He just needed to be accompanied to make sure everything stayed cool,” Rockholdt said.

Price told a deputy that what he had done was stupid, that he didn’t know what he was thinking and repeatedly said “it will never happen again,” according to the arrest report.

Price’s widow, Laurel Price, said her husband, who she said joined the Marines after high school and served in Vietnam before the fall of Saigon, suffered from heart and mental health problems.

“He gets weird, says weird things, acts weird. And anger comes with that. It’s not usually as strong as it was this time,” she said in an interview.

Laurel Price said she was trying to get her husband to leave the resort.

“I thought it would be best to get him home. I was trying to get him home to take him to the hospital and get him help,” she said.

She said she and friends tried to drive him home, but he grabbed the steering wheel. She said she was terrified and got out of the vehicle before her husband drove on the walkway.

“He wanted to go back and fish and enjoy it, but he couldn’t enjoy it because he was mentally unstable at that time,” she said. “He flat out did not want to leave and nobody was going to make him leave, even me.”

Gregory Price was booked into the Douglas County Jail at 2:26 a.m. Saturday, according to jail records. He was released at 2:14 p.m. Judge Randy Garrison reviewed the arrest report and ruled there was insufficient reason to keep Gregory Price in custody.

Laurel Price said thought her husband would be safe in jail until Monday.

• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or by email at bswanback@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Jun 26, 2013 05:11PM Published Jun 26, 2013 12:24PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.