State police see spike in pursuits near Albany

2014-05-01T08:30:00Z State police see spike in pursuits near AlbanyBy Kyle Odegard, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

Oregon State Police had its second motor vehicle chase in three days near Albany on Tuesday afternoon, and a woman allegedly driving intoxicated was arrested after a brief high-speed pursuit on Interstate 5.

Lt. Vonn Schleicher, Albany station commander, said his office’s four police pursuits since April 8 are a sharp increase from the norm.

“I don’t know if it’s just a blip on the radar or if it’s a trend. My hope is it’s not a trend. Pursuits are never good,” he added.

Schleicher said that in most pursuits, motorists who might have been stopped for a minor violation instead get charged with felony attempt to elude.  

Lt. Gregg Hastings, OSP public information officer, said that between 2002 and 2012, state troopers throughout Oregon averaged 90 police pursuits per year.

In 2013, there were 123 pursuits, but the agency switched its method of calculating such data, adding chases by its Criminal and Fish & Wildlife divisions to patrol numbers.

“It is safe to say the vast majority (of 2013 pursuits) involve patrol division troopers,” said Hastings in an e-mail.

According to agency data, in nearly 40 percent of Oregon State Police’s pursuits, troopers stopped chasing the fleeing motorists because of various factors, including a safety risk to the public and law enforcement.

Albany Police Department and Linn County Sheriff’s Office representatives said they hadn’t noticed an increase in police pursuits lately, though each agency was involved in recent chases.

In Tuesday’s OSP chase, Amanda Rose Markuson, 25, of Salem, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and felony attempt to elude. She was lodged in the Linn County Jail.

Police received reports of a southbound car driving erratically on I-5, striking the center barrier, nearly hitting other vehicles and almost going off the road.

At about 4:30 p.m., a Chevrolet Aveo was spotted near Millersburg. When a trooper tried to stop it, the car sped up to 90 mph. Markuson failed to yield for about two miles before stopping, according to a news release.

A chase on Sunday morning started on I-5 northbound near Highway 34. A trooper tried to pull over a motorcycle going 78 mph in a 65 mph zone in a rainstorm.

The rider exited the interstate, sped down the off ramp, blew a red light and nearly crashed before heading back onto I-5.

The trooper did not continue the pursuit and radioed ahead to another trooper, who again stopped pursuing the reckless rider.  

Salem police started a third pursuit, but the motorcyclist crashed on Fisher Road near  Devonshire Street, according to a news release.

Cody Aaron Napier, 20, was arrested on charges of two counts of felony attempt to elude and three counts of reckless driving.

Kyle Odegard covers public safety for the D-H. He can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net.

Copyright 2016 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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