PRINEVILLE, Ore. - An attempted traffic stop Thursday night in Prineville led to a police pursuit that was discontinued before the car crashed on Highway 126 and two occupants ran away, police said. But a citizen in the area ran after them and helped officers find and arrest the pair, who were hiding in tall brush.
Around 10 p.m., a police officer tried to stop a 1998 Mercury Sable for several traffic violations, but the driver, identified later as Austin Owens, 24, of Prineville refused to stop, Captain Larry Seymour said.
The officer turned on his lights and siren in the area of South Main Street, and Owens sped away, again engaging in numerous traffic violations, Seymour said.
The officer tried to safely follow Owens but lost sight of the car and discontinued the pursuit, turning off his lights and siren. Owens last was seen driving west on Northwest Third Street near Main Street.
Within a couple of minutes, the Prineville office noticed what appeared to be a single-vehicle crash on Highway 126, between O'Neil Highway and Highway 26, Seymour said.
Owens, accompanied by passenger Jordan Breshears, 25, also of Prineville, had crashed the car up against a cement barrier, witnessed by several citizens and another driver who had to swerve to avoid a collision, according to Seymour.
Owens and Breshears were seen running west toward Rimrock Road. While several citizens stayed at the crash scene to help officers, a man in his 60s pursued the suspects and helped officers find the pair hiding in tall brush about 200 yards from the crash, Seymour said.
Owens and Breshears were booked into the Crook County Jail and after a court appearance Friday were ordered held without bail on parole violation arrest warrants.
Owens was charged with attempting to elude police in a vehicle and on foot, as well as reckless driving, reckless endangering, failure to perform the duties of a driver, second-degree criminal mischief and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. Breshears also was charged with attempting to elude police on foot.
Seymour said in a news relesae police "would like to thank the good citizens of our community for their assistance" in the case, thanking residents for their "team effort.".
"We don't encourage citizen foot chases because of the inherent dangers involved," Seymour said, "but without the assistance of this citizen, it's unknown if we would have been able to make an arrest."
Anyone with information on Owens and Breshears can contact Prineville police at 541-447-4168 or on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PrinevillePD.