A Baker City Police officer deployed a spike strip on Wednesday evening, April 28, to stop a car that had led an Oregon State Police trooper on a high-speed chase along Interstate 84 and then onto Highway 86.
Clayton Ted Snell, 36, of Sandy, Utah, was arrested on multiple charges, including driving under the influence of intoxicants, attempting to elude police in a vehicle and on foot, and reckless driving.
The pursuit started east of Baker City. In a written report, Deputy Gabe Maldonado of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office wrote that at about 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday he heard on the radio that OSP Sr. Trooper Andrew McClay was in high-speed pursuit, in the westbound lanes of I-84, of a black SUV with Florida license plates.
McClay notified other officers that the SUV exited the freeway at Campbell Street but became stuck in traffic. The driver then returned to the freeway, still heading westbound.
Baker City Police officer Zach Thatcher saw the black SUV take the next freeway exit near Milepost 302, and then drive east on Highway 86 toward Richland, Maldonado wrote in his report.
Thatcher followed the SUV to about Milepost 7 on Highway 86, where the vehicle turned around and started driving west on the highway, toward the freeway.
Maldonado wrote in his report that he pulled his patrol car off the highway about 7:15 p.m. at the Grey Eagle Mine Road, at the base of Flagstaff Hill.
“A few seconds later I saw the black 2020 Ford Expedition with Florida license plates go by me with a white male adult in the driver seat,” Maldonado wrote.
As Maldonado pulled onto the highway behind the Expedition, he wrote that he saw Baker City Police officer Rand Weaver, who was parked beside the highway and had deployed spike strips.
Maldonado wrote that he saw the Expedition’s brake lights come on “as it did a quick weaving motion and then continue past Officer Weaver’s patrol vehicle.”
The deputy followed the Expedition and at about 7:16 p.m. the vehicle crashed at the intersection with Lindley Lane, about a mile and a half west of the Grey Eagle Mine Road.
Maldonado wrote that Snell got out of the vehicle and ran north on Lindley Lane, then through an open gate and toward a cattle truck. Maldonado wrote that the officer with him, Baker County deputy Kyle Ebeling, opened the door and told the man, later identified as Snell, to stop. Snell did so, and the deputies arrested him.
Maldonado wrote that he “could detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Snell’s person. Snell would not give me his name, so when I went to the crashed vehicle to look for a wallet, I saw multiple empty cans of beer on the floor and there was alcohol spilled in the vehicle.”
Snell was also charged with second-degree criminal mischief. He is scheduled to return to Baker County Circuit Court for a probable cause preliminary hearing on May 6 at 1:15 p.m.