Wrong-way DUII driver hits 85 mph on Hwy. 97

Alleged DUII driver sends semis, cars swerving S. of Bend

BEND, Ore. - A wrong-way DUII driver from Portland with a suspended license faces two-dozen charges after leading police on a chase at up to 85 mph on Highway 97 south of Bend late Monday night that led to plenty of frayed nerves and evasive maneuvers -- but thankfully, no injuries, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies reported.

Around 10:22 p.m., a deputy parked beside Highway 97 near milepost 150 spotted a silver 2009 Chevy Silverado pickup heading north in the southbound lanes, said Lt. Paul Garrison.

The deputy flipped on his lights and siren and tried to overtake and stop the pickup, which was being driven by a man later identified as James Kevin Prahl, 53, of Portland.

Several cars, including semi-trucks, were forced to pull over to the highway shoulder to avoid a head-on crash during the pursuit, which lasted about five minutes.

Prahl passed lane barriers at the stretch of highway by the High Desert Museum that would have let him move to the correct travel lane, Garrison said.

Instead, the pickup kept going north in the southbound lanes to the Highway 97-Third Street intersection, where it took Third Street and finally pulled over south of Murphy Road.

Police were working to "channelize" traffic and get cars out of the way, and had been preparing to put out "spike strips" to flatten the pickup's tires and stop it if need be, unconfirmed police scanner reports indicated.

Instead, once he pulled over, deputies and Bend police conducted a high-risk (guns drawn) vehicle stop and Prahl, who was alone in the pickup, got out and was taken into custody, the lieutenant said.

Prahl was booked into the county jail on charges of DUII, attempt to elude a police officer, 10 counts of reckless driving and 11 counts of reckless endangering, as well as a criminal charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license. He remained held Tuesday on $125,000 bail.

No one was injured during the pursuit, Garrison said, and no property damage occurred.

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