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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Fugitive caught in Prineville

Fugitive caught in Prineville

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By CHRIS COLLINS

Of the Baker City Herald

A La Grande man wanted by police in Baker and Union counties was arrested at Prineville without incident about noon Friday, according to Oregon State Police.

Gregory Leon Crampton, 37, was taken into custody at 12:24 p.m. He was attempting to escape through a bathroom window at the back of a house at 12505 N.E. Ochoco Way when police stopped him, said OSP Trooper Don Wagner of Prineville. Wagner declined to name the homeowner pending further action in the investigation.

Wagner said the man probably will not be criminally charged in the investigation.

"He was semi-cooperative," Wagner said.

Crampton apparently caught a ride from Baker County to Prineville with the man sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning, Wagner said.

Crampton eluded police in Union and Baker counties in a pickup truck Wednesday afternoon before escaping on foot and disappearing into the woods near Balm Creek Reservoir northeast of Keating.

Area residents were alerted to keep their homes and vehicles secure and the Keating School was closed Thursday and Friday as a safety precaution. OSP and the Baker County Sheriff's Office launched air and ground searches in their attempt to locate Crampton.

Wagner said Prineville police received information from the La Grande Police Department Thursday that Crampton was thought to be at the Prineville home. A member of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team was recruited to stake out the neighborhood, Wagner said. The officer, an undercover Crook County Sheriff's deputy, spotted Crampton arriving at the house about noon Friday.

A woman who delivered Crampton to the home told police that she had picked him up at Bend earlier in the day and returned him to Prineville, Wagner said. The trooper also declined to name the woman.

A team that included Wagner and three Prineville Police Department officers and the sheriff's deputy converged on the house and made the arrest.

"Once he was confronted by the officers he gave up," Wagner said. "He was on his way out the window when he was confronted and he went straight to the ground."

Crampton was not armed and was taken into custody without incident. He is being held at the Crook County Jail at Prineville on a warrant charging him with violating terms of his parole, Wagner said.

"We were pretty cautious. Given the information we had, we figured he was somebody to be taken seriously," Wagner said. "We were ready for him. It didn't turn out to be a problem."

Prior to fleeing Union and Baker counties, a woman who had been traveling with Crampton told police he was armed and that he had stated he would not surrender, said Union County Sheriff Steve Oliver. He said Crampton forced the woman from the vehicle he was driving at gunpoint on Highway 203 at the Flying J truck stop on Wednesday afternoon.

Crampton then continued on toward Union at speeds of more than 100 mph. The chase was picked up in Baker County on the road between North Powder and Telocaset by a Baker OSP officer.

The pursuit continued to Medical Springs and then onto the gravel road leading to Balm Creek Reservoir. The trooper lost Crampton on the rough, dusty road. Crampton abandoned his vehicle and fled into the woods. The pickup truck was later located by police and towed to Baker City.

Crampton faces a Crook County charge of possession of methamphetamine, Wagner said. He was carrying drug paraphernalia containing a trace amount of a substance thought to be methamphetamine, which has been forwarded to the crime lab to be analyzed, he said.

Crampton is charged with absconding from parole in Union County and attempting to elude police, recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving in Baker and Union counties. He was sentenced to prison on June 25, 1998, for delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance. He was placed on post-prison supervision in Union County on March 16, 2001.

 
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