BLACK BUTTE RANCH, Ore. - The driver of a pickup truck stolen in Yamhill County led police on an early Christmas morning pursuit over Santiam Pass and into Central Oregon that ended when it hit "spike strips" flattening the tires and the driver crashed into a tree, then ran into the woods off Highway 20 west of Sisters, eluding an extensive manhunt.
The name of the suspect is not known, and there's no clothing or other description at this time, said Deschutes County sheriff's Lt. Chad Davis.
Oregon State Police contacted the sheriff's office shortly after 2 a.m. to advise of the pursuit of a possibly stolen 2004 Chevy Silverado heading east on Hwy. 20W, first reported in an area east of Sweet Home in Linn County, Davis said. The pickup had been stolen on Tuesday from a PGW facility in Yamhill County.
Sheriff's deputies and a Black Butte Ranch police officer were sent to assist OSP troopers, who ended their pursuit near milepost 51 due to poor road conditions, Davis said.
The Black Butte Ranch officer spotted the pickup heading east on the highway at about 50 to 55 mph, failing to maintain its lane of travel. The officer followed the truck from a distance, watching it slow as it neared the Suttle Lake grade.
The driver turned into a vehicle turnout and appeared to be making a U-turn to head west again on Highway 20, Davis said.
At that point, the Black Butte Ranch officer flipped on his overhead lights, in order to stop the driver – but he then sped off at over 70 mph, heading east again on Highway 20, the lieutenant said.
Spike strips were deployed west of the Camp Sherman Junction, and the pickup's front tires hit them and began to lose air, Davis said. The driver kept heading east until the front tires deflated, at which point it left the road and struck a large Ponderosa pine tree at about 20 to 30 mph. The driver then got out and ran.
Sheriff's office and Redmond police K-9 teams searched the area extensively, but could not find the driver.