Sunriver car-burglary suspect caught after 2 chases

Fled traffic stop, later ran across busy Hwy. 97, police say

POSTED: 12:28 PM PST January 26, 2014    UPDATED: 11:08 AM PST January 27, 2014 
HULGAN, CHRISTOPHER
SUNRIVER, Ore. -

A suspect in a week-long string of car break-ins around Sunriver ran twice from officers Sunday – first after an early-morning traffic stop, then hours later, in a wild foot chase across busy Highway 97 and into the woods before being captured by police and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies.

A Bend police K-9 team helped  Sunriver police and deputies search for Christopher Hulgan, 40, after Sunriver police stopped a black Ford Bronco around 4:30 a.m. at Abbot Drive and Circle 3 in the resort community, said Sunriver police Sgt. Joe Patnode.

A dark SUV had been seen in the area of several late-night and early-morning car clouts in Sunriver over the past week. Patnode said an officer chased one such vehicle Friday night for a time, but was unable to catch the suspect. Some of the vehicles that were hit were unlocked, he said, while others were locked and had windows smashed.

At the time of the early-Sunday traffic stop, Patnode said Hulgan told officers he was at the wheel of his girlfriend’s car. Patnode said he was an "habitual offender" on post-prison supervision for unauthorized use/entry of vehicles.

“We get the guy out of the car, he goes to kiss his girlfriend goodbye, because he’s going to jail – and he ditches us,” the sergeant said. Police issued a description to the public as they continued to search for Hulgan.

Around 9:20 a.m., a sheriff’s deputy reported spotting a man matching Hulgan’s description walking toward the south beside the southbound lanes of Highway 97, just south of the Cottonwood Road exit, Patnode said.

Patnode said Sunriver police approached from the south and sheriff’s deputies from the north.

As officers closed in, “I screamed, ‘Sunriver Police You’re under arrest!” Patnode said -- at which point Hulgan scrambled across the two southbound lanes, jumped over the concrete barrier, ran across the wide median and then across the northbound lanes, stopping traffic.

“He climbs up the 10-foot deer fence” in a bid to escape, running into the woods, pursued over the fence by a Sunriver officer and sheriff's deputy, Patnode said.

Two deputies and the Sunriver officer finally corralled Hulgan in the woods about a half-mile east of the highway, about 12 minutes after the pursuit began, the sergeant said.

Hulgan was arrested and booked into the Deschutes County Jail, held without bail on a probation violation and facing three counts of attempting to elude police, third-degree escape and criminal mischief, resisting arrest and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

His female companion, Anastasia Leonard, 29, also was arrested, charged with carrying a concealed weapon and conspiracy to escape and elude police, Patnode said. She was booked into the jail and later released on her own recognizance, a jail officer said.

In the SUV, Patnode said police found burglars’ tools, walkie-talkies and other items commonly used in car break-ins. Officers also found several knives in the car (though none on Hulgan) and a black BB gun that closely resembles a handgun.

Patnode said the two are from the Bend-Sunriver-La Pine area and most recently have lived in the Three Rivers area south of Sunriver.

Patnode offered appreciation to the sheriff’s office for its help in finding and capturing Hulgan, who made the news twice in 2012.

The first incident was an April traffic stop and methamphetamine bust in northeast Bend that led to two arrests;  along with drug possession, manufacture and distribution charges, Hulgan was charged with parole violation and felon in possession of a firearm.

In October 2012, an argument over a debt led to a fight and alleged car theft, also in northeast Bend. Two men were arrested in a high-risk (guns-drawn) traffic stop. Hulgan was charged with robbery, unlawful use of a vehicle, third-degree assault and a parole violation.