Driver Arrested Following Lengthy Pursuit (Photo)
JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – A Grants Pass man who claimed to be under the influence of LSD stole a car and eluded police for several miles Saturday evening. The driver recklessly drove the wrong way on multiple roadways, including Interstate 5. Several pursuit intervention measures were required to stop the vehicle.
On the evening of June 2, 2018, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Oregon State Police troopers were in the area of Emigrant Lake in response to a large gathering that reportedly involved drugs and alcohol use. Dispatch received calls from citizens at Emigrant Lake about a man exhibiting strange behavior. The man was later identified as Anthony Joseph Clark, 23, of the 7000-block of Lower River Road.
Simultaneously, two JCSO deputies had made arrests for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) at Highway 66 and Emigrant Lake Road and were awaiting the arrival of tow trucks for the involved vehicles. At approximately 8:25 p.m., Clark entered one of the impounded vehicles, a tan 2003 Toyota Camry. An OSP trooper attempted to physically stop Clark, but Clark was able to flee in the vehicle.
Clark drove off the roadway, evading law enforcement vehicles nearby, then drove toward Ashland on Highway 66. He turned onto Interstate 5 at exit 14, driving north on the shoulder of the southbound lanes.
Clark turned around on the freeway near mile marker 16 and drove south, back toward exit 14. An Ashland Police Department officer caught up to Clark. Clark exited and drove west on Ashland Street toward Southern Oregon University. The vehicle turned north on Walker Avenue and crashed through multiple industrial gates off the roadway. The pursuit was terminated as the vehicle entered the more populated area.
After driving through the downtown area, Clark was seen driving south on Siskiyou Boulevard in the northbound lanes. He turned around again and headed north through downtown. A JCSO deputy caught up to the vehicle as it left the Ashland city limits.
Clark continued north on Highway 99 toward Talent. The deputy followed at a distance to discourage high speeds. A Talent Police Department officer deployed spike strips near the intersection with Rapp Road. Clark continued driving north on Highway 99, despite the vehicle’s deflating rear tires. Clark drove north in the southbound lanes of Main Street (Highway 99) through the city of Phoenix. A Phoenix Police Department officer was able to successfully deploy spike strips near the intersection with Northridge Terrace, deflating the front tires.
Medford Police Department and additional JCSO deputies blocked off arterial roadways ahead. Deputies applied multiple pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuvers, finally stopping the vehicle in the 3400-block of South Pacific Highway (99). Clark attempted to ram a patrol car, and then ran from the vehicle.
OSP troopers chased Clark and took him into custody as he was attempting to steal another vehicle in the Glenwood Mobile Home Park. A JCSO deputy then took custody of Clark.
During the DUII investigation, Clark admitted to taking LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a hallucinogenic drug, earlier in the day. He told deputies he believed he was in the video game “Grand Theft Auto” and the police were trying to catch him.
Deputies lodged Clark in the Jackson County jail on several charges. Additional charges were added by other law enforcement agencies involved in the prolonged incident. The charges are listed below.
- Jackson County Sheriff’s Office: attempting to elude an officer in a vehicle, attempting to elude an officer on foot, driving under the influence of intoxicants (controlled substance), unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person.
- Ashland Police Department: recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, first degree criminal mischief, attempting to elude an officer in a vehicle, second degree criminal trespass, and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.
- Oregon State Police: recklessly endangering another person, third degree escape.
The case will be forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney for prosecution. Clark remains lodged in jail at the time of this release.