Redmond officer rams wrong-way DUII pickup

Driver was backing down Hwy. 97; no serious injuries

REDMOND, Ore. - A pursuit of an alleged drunk driver who struck a pole and speed limit sign on the south end of Redmond appeared to be over when she pulled over on Highway 97 Wednesday evening – but then she started backing down the highway in reverse, prompting an officer to use his patrol car to stop her, officers said.

Shortly after 6:30 p.m., Deschutes County dispatchers got a call from a citizen reporting a silver 2000 Chevy Silverado had struck a pole in front of the Redmond Airport, said Sgt. Jesse Petersen.

The driver, later identified as Gina Leigh Waddell, 45, of Redmond, suffered minor facial injuries in the crash, but kept going north on Airport Way, then west on Veterans Way, Petersen said, at one point leaving the road and hitting a speed-limit sign.

The pickup driver continued onto northbound Highway 97, refusing for a time to pull over for police and going about 30 mph on a stretch of highway with a 45 mph speed limit, the sergeant said.

Eventually, Waddell pulled over on the shoulder of northbound Highway 97 near East Antler Avenue, Petersen said.

But then, police say, she put the pickup in reverse and began traveling south in the northbound lanes, turning while backing up, apparently to try to move into the southbound lanes, still in reverse.

At that point, the unidentified patrol officer stopped the pickup with his patrol car to keep her from crossing the median and entering southbound traffic.

Waddell was taken into custody without incident and was lodged at the county jail in Bend on DUII and elude charges, as well as three counts of reckless driving and two counts of hit-and-run, Petersen said. She later was released to a responsible party, jail officers said.

The officer was not injured and the patrol car had minimal damage, the sergeant added.

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