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REEDSPORT — A Reedsport school bus driver was arrested earlier this month for allegedly assaulting women while wearing a ski mask in isolated parking lots along the coast.

Edward Owen Spalione, 63, was taken into custody nearly nine months after the first reported attack when victims described vehicles that were registered under his name.

Spalione worked for Lewis Transportation, Reedsport School District's contracted bus company.

Don Kessler, transportation supervisor at Lewis Transportation, said the company couldn’t comment because of the ongoing investigation.

He said Spalione had been working at the company for about 9 years.

The Reedsport School District released a statement on May 6 stating, “At this time this is a police matter and is currently being investigated. Students and their safety is of utmost importance to us. There is no indication that a Reedsport student is involved. We assure you that we will provide more information as it pertains to the school district as it becomes available.”

The first attack took place around 1 p.m. on August 16 along Sparrow Park Road in Gardiner. Spalione allegedly entered a victim’s car wearing a ski mask and repeatedly hit her in the head with the heel of his hand.

As he fled, he picked up a can of bear mace she had attempted to use on him and told her he would use it on a future victim, according to court documents.

On Nov. 3, a woman walked by a parked Mercedes station wagon at the Siltcoos Lake Trailhead parking lot, when she heard the door open and a man in a ski mask started to come toward her.

The victim ran and flagged down a passing driver who took pictures of the car’s license plate. It was registered to Spalione.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office contacted Spalione and he denied any involvement. Deputies cited and released him, according to court documents.

Five months later, Spalione allegedly grabbed a victim in the Carter Lake Campground area while she was walking her dogs around noon. He held a knife to her throat, forced her down the road and continually hit her with the heel of his hand, according to court documents.

The victim told deputies that she bit the attacker’s hand and wrist.

Surveillance footage showed a white pickup truck at the scene of the crime. Spalione has a white Nissan Frontier registered in his name, according to court documents.

On May 4, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies searched Spalione’s Winchester Avenue residence in Reedsport and found multiple items consistent with the reported assaults, according to court documents.

Deputies noted an injury to his hand consistent with a bite mark.

Spalione denied being in the area during the Carter Lake attack. He told deputies he’d been trying to stay away from Carter Lake and Siltcoos after being cited.

Spalione was lodged in the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of unlawful sexual penetration, two counts of first-degree sex abuse, two counts of fourth-degree assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of menacing.

First-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree sex abuse are all Measure 11 crimes that carry a mandatory minimum sentence if convicted of 8 years, 7 years and 6 years, respectively.

Spalione is being held on $1.5 million bail.

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Reach Saphara Harrell at (541) 269-1222 ext. 239 or by email at saphara.harrell@theworldlink.com

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