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Friends remember man killed in hit-and-run on Highway 99 in Talent

Friends and co-workers of Geoffry Sterling remember him as a generous, thoughtful, understanding and creative person.

Posted: Sep 20, 2021 4:59 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2021 5:21 PM

TALENT, Ore. — On Sunday night, and Ashland man died after being struck by a car while riding his bike along South Pacific Highway near Talent. Oregon State Police identified him Monday as 44-year-old Geoffry Sterling.

The driver left the scene after striking Sterling, and Oregon State Police is now investigating.

NewsWatch 12 spoke to Sterling's friends and co-workers on Monday, as they remembered a man who they agreed was an incredibly generous, thoughtful, understanding, and creative person.

Daniel Williams knew Sterling for two years, working alongside him at Target in Medford. He says that Sterling enjoyed riding his bike between Ashland and Medford every day between his work and his home, both for his health and for the environment.

"He was always careful, he always looked around him, he always made sure to take the safest path," said Williams.

Williams had glowing things to say about Sterling's character.

"No matter what he was feeling or what he was going through, he would always help you out and be one of the friends who was there for you — he always put others first," Williams said of Sterling. "One of the most generous people I've ever met in my entire life."

Williams wasn't alone in appreciating Sterling's generosity. Multiple friends passed on messages to NewsWatch 12 about Sterling, all painting a picture of a man brimming with positivity, one who would gladly serve as a shoulder to cry on. One co-worker said that he was like a father figure.

While Sterling worked in General Merchandise at Target, Williams said that he was most passionate about toys and loved helping customers with them.

"He knew everything about them," said Williams. "He knew everything about action figures. He would make toys in his spare time — he had a company he wanted to make, selling toys and making them for kids, he really enjoyed that."

NewsWatch 12 spoke to OSP Captain Stephanie Bigman on Monday afternoon to ask about any updates in the hit-and-run investigation, but she said that there wasn't much more to share as of yet.

"The only thing that we are requesting is that the public, if they saw anything that they thought was suspicious or might actually pertain to this crash, to call in to OSP dispatch and just let us know what they saw," said Cpt. Bigman. "It could be the smallest thing that helps us break this case."

Overnight, OSP brought in a reconstructionist to go over the scene and piece together the circumstances of the crash. This should help investigators figure out the type of vehicle involved and how fast they were going.

"We have reason to believe it was probably a little larger vehicle, that the subject did know they hit the bicyclist ... but we really right now don't have a lot to go on," Bigman said. "So we're really hoping that somebody was in the area last night and saw something."

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the intersection of South Pacific Highway and W Valley View Road — near where Sterling was killed — only saw one crash involving a bicyclist during the past decade, from the beginning of 2010 through the end of 2019. The crash occurred in 2013, and though one person was injured, it was not fatal.

Anyone with information regarding the crash or the suspect vehicle is asked to contact the OSP Southern Command Center at 1-800-442-2068 or *OSP and refer to Case number: SP21-268789.

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