Traffic stop triggers Lower Bridge chase, arrest

DCSO: CRR man, suspected of poaching, had pipe-bomb items

TERREBONNE, Ore. - A traffic stop west of Terrebonne turned into a police pursuit late Sunday night after a Deschutes County sheriff's deputy spotted items that led him to believe the driver might be poaching in the area. A two-mile chase ended in the arrest of a 53-year-old Crooked River Ranch man who allegedly had items to build a pipe bomb in his car.

The deputy stopped a 1998 Honda Accord for a traffic infraction (failure to maintain a lane) on NW Lower Bridge Road around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, said sheriff's Sgt. Troy Gotchy.

The deputy contacted the driver, Thomas Harold Robbins, and obtained his license, registration and insurance documents, Gotchy said. The deputy went back to his patrol car and ran the items, finding they were clear and valid, but Robbins "was known to the deputy to be involved in criminal activity, including drug use," the sergeant said.

The deputy also noticed a large spotlight on the passenger seat, and saw what he believed to be a rifle hidden under a blanket in the back seat. Gotchy said the deputy believed Robbins might be poaching in the area, but when he approached the car to speak with Robbins, he suddenly drove away.

The deputy ran back to his car and pursued Robbins, who headed west for about three miles, then turned south (left) on NW 93rd Lane, which is a cul-de-sac.

Gotchy said Robbins drove to the end, turned around and circled back to Lower Bridge Road, turning east (toward Terrebonne) and going another two miles or so before pulling over.

Robbins was taken into custody without further incident, Gotchy said – and a search of his car turned up items to construct a pipe bomb.

He was booked into the county jail in Bend on a felony charge of attempting to elude police and possession of a destructive device. Bail was set at $20,000.

Speeds during the pursuit were about 55 mph, with no traffic in the area, Gotchy said, adding that alcohol was not a factor in the incident.

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