Klamath DA: Deputy shot car-theft suspect speeding toward him

Fugitive critical but stable at Portland hospital

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - A 32-year-old man was shot and critically wounded by a Klamath County sheriff's deputy Wednesday night as he sped toward the deputy in a stolen car, District Attorney Eve Costello said Thursday.

Matthew S. Derby was given initial medical aid on the scene by an Oregon State Police trooper until medics arrived to take him to Sky Lakes Medical Center, Costello said in a news release. He was then flown to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where the DA said he was in critical but stable condition Thursday. 

The deputy was uninjured, she added.

The incident began around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, when Klamath County 911 dispatchers got a call of a man in the Albertsons parking lot on South Sixth Street who appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and attempting to enter vehicles, Costello said.

Moments later, dispatchers were informed the man, later identified as Derby, had stolen a car and officers began a search. Costello noted Derby also was wanted on an outstanding federal parole arrest warrant.

A sheriff's deputy spotted the stolen car and tried to stop Derby around 8 p.m., but he didn't pull over and a pursuit ensued. Costello said Derby "endangered the public by driving at a high rate of speed, driving through parking lots and driving the wrong direction" on the road.

As Derby headed west on Sixth Street and across a viaduct, he lost control of the car and spun on the road, the DA said.  A deputy got out of his patrol car to take Derby into custody, but Derby sped in his direction and the deputy fired his gun, hitting the driver, she said.

The stolen car came to rest against a utility pole on the opposite side of the street and Derby was taken into custody.

Costello said standard procedures for review of an officer-involved shooting are in place, and the Klamath County Major Crime Team was activated, with Klamath Falls police leading the investigation.

The DA said her office plans to file charges against Derby, including attempted aggravated murder, unlawful use of a vehicle and recklessly endangering.

Court records for Derby show numerous arrests between 2003 and 2007 on charges ranging from burglary and assault to reckless driving and drug possession. He was sentenced to more than a year in prison in a 2004 case in which he iinitially was charged with second-degree kidnapping but convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude police and recklessly endangering another person.

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