The incident at the Baker City Airport Tuesday had some of the elements ommon to episodes that end in tragedy.
This one, fortunately, ended only with an arrest.
No one was hurt.
Police say Scott William Chase, a 46-year-old man whose background includes criminal charges as well as a diagnosis of mental issues, drove a converted school bus onto a runway at the Baker City Airport.
Chase refused to exit the bus when confronted by officers from the Baker City Police and Baker County Sheriff’s Office. Police had reason to believe Chase had guns in the bus — and officers did find firearms in the vehicle after Chase was arrested.
The owner of Baker Aircraft, Troy Woydziak, radioed a flight instructor who was in the air with a student pilot. They landed safely, and Woydziak issued a notice to other pilots that the airport, which has relatively little traffic on cloudy winter days, would be temporarily closed.
Police had the area secured, and there was no reason to rush and, potentially, provoke a violent response from Chase.
Authorities called in the Northeast Oregon SWAT team about 2:30 p.m. Around 4:50 p.m. Chase walked out of the bus, and SWAT members arrested him without incident.
There is of course no way to predict how a potentially volatile situation will be resolved.
But ultimately the outcome is what matters, and the many agencies involved deserve credit for managing the incident in a responsible and, in the end successful, way.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor