COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - A driver in a Pontiac Firebird led police on a chase through two counties Thursday before the fleeing car hit a state patrol car, sending both vehicles into a ditch filled with water, Oregon State Police said.
Police took the driver and one of his passengers into custody.
The pursuit started just before 8 p.m. when a Douglas County deputy spotted a red Firebird with California plates on Eagle Valley Road in Yoncalla. The car matched the description of a vehicle related to a burglary investigation.
When the deputy tried to stop the Firebird on Interstate 5, the car cut through the center median and got back on county roads in the Yoncalla and Drain areas. At one point, the Pontiac nearly struck the deputy's patrol car before returning to Interstate 5 from Highway 38 where it proceeded northbound on the freeway, Oregon State Police said.
Oregon State Police got involved around 8:11 p.m. as the Firebird flew northbound at high speed.
Police in Cottage Grove put out spike strips and punctured the Firebird's right front tire just south of Cottage Grove, but the car continued driving north at high speed with one tire deflated.
The driver started to take the Saginaw exit, then tried to return to northbound lanes when it collided with an Oregon State Police trooper's car. Both vehicles went off the road into a ditch, coming to rest in about 2 feet of water.
The Pontiac's driver, Kerry Joseph Kippes Jr., 37, from Dillard was taken into custody and jailed on the following charges:
- Felony Attempt to Elude in a Vehicle
- Reckless Driving
- Recklessly Endangering Another Person (2 counts)
- Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance - Methamphetamine
He was also cited by OSP to appear in Lane County Circuit Court for the same charges except the drug charge.
One of the two female passengers initially provided false information regarding her identity to officers, police said. She was positively identified as Theresa Ann Webb, 32, of Eugene, and was wanted on a felony warrant.
Webb was jailed on the warrant for Computer Crime, Theft in the First Degree, and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, plus one count of Furnishing False Information to a Police Officer.
The other female, age 30, was not arrested and later released.