BEND, Ore. - A hit-and-run crash at one northeast Bend gas station-convenience store Thursday morning led police to a second gas station, where the suspect vehicle was found. It soon left, and three teens got out and ran from the moving SUV. That led to a wide-ranging search and the arrest of three Portland-area teens, as well as the recovery of several items stolen in Bend, officers said.
Police were dispatched around 11:40 a.m. to the Chevron Circle K on North Highway 97 on a report of a hit-and-run crash, said Lt. Clint Burleigh. They learned a gold Toyota 4Runner struck a white BMW SUV in the parking lot.
The BMW’s driver was able to get the 4Runner’s license plate and gave it to 911 dispatchers, who related it to Bend police. They learned the 4Runner had been stolen in Portland, Burleigh said.
Shortly before noon, a Bend officer found the 4Runner in the Arco parking lot at NE Third Street and Greenwood Avenue, Burleigh said. The officer saw it had damage consistent with what had been reported at the earlier crash scene.
The 4Runner left the parking lot with three occupants matching the description given to 911 dispatchers by the BMW’s driver, the lieutenant said.
Two Bend police officers tried to stop the 4Runner on NE Irving Avenue near Fourth Street, but as the officer initiated the stop, the three people inside fled the moving vehicle, which continued forward and struck a trailer parked on Irving Avenue.
The three occupants split up and were chased on foot by police, Burleigh said. Nearby Marshall High School was placed in a brief lockout (no one allowed in) during the initial search for the three suspects.
The one first to be caught was a 13-year-old Portland boy, in the 500 block of Irving Avenue.
Police checked a wide area around Fourth Street and Irving Avenue and found two people matching the other occupants’ description, running west on Dekalb Avenue, crossing Third Street, Burleigh said.
Officers took the two into custody, one in the Bi-Mart parking lot and the other in the Motel 6 parking lot, both just west of Third Street near Burnside Avenue. One was a 14-year-old boy from Portland and the other was identified as18-year-old Tajai Carter of the Portland-area suburb of Happy Valley.
Investigators found numerous items inside the 4Runner, including suspected stolen property from several stores on the north side of Bend, Burleigh said.
A recovered laptop was tied to a theft Wednesday night in Sherwood, another Portland suburb. Other recovered property tied the suspects to theft from a vehicle Thursday morning in the parking lot of the Bend JC Penney.
Carter was arrested and taken to the Deschutes County Jail on a second-degree theft warrant and charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude a police officer, failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run) and reckless endangering. He was being held without bail on a probation violation charge, online jail records showed.
The 13-year-old was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and attempting to elude a police officer and cited for marijuana possession. He was lodged at the county juvenile department, as was the 14-year-old, who was arrested on a probation violation warrant and charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude a police officer, failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run) and first-degree criminal mischief (stemming from the hit and run).
Burleigh said more charges are expected, stemming from the suspected stolen merchandise. Anyone in the area who had their vehicle entered early Thursday morning was asked to contact non-emergency dispatchers at 541-693-6911.