MEDFORD, Ore. — A man is in custody after police say he stole a van at knife-point and led police on a vehicle chase.
On Sunday morning at 7:23 a.m., police say the suspect, identified as Christopher Cody Willard, walked up to a 2006 Odyssey Van while it was stopped at a red light on Central Avenue. Medford Police say the suspect approached the vehicle armed with a knife, opened the door and ordered the driver to get out.
The driver, an 80-year-old man, struggled with the suspect. Medford Police report the victim, who was still seat belted in, kicked the suspect and grabbed the hand with the knife. The suspect fell into the van with the victim as they struggled over the knife. The van rolled forward, and struck a large rock, closing the door on the victim’s lower leg. They say the victim suffered broken bones as a result.
The victim was able to get out and the suspect took off with the van. The stolen van was spotted by police around 7:31 a.m., heading northbound on Highway 62. Jackson County Sheriffs, Oregon State Police and Eagle Point Police assisted in the pursuit. As the chase neared Antelope Road in White City, police say they attempted to use a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver, but the suspect was able to drive out of it and keep going.
At around 7:47 p.m., Medford Police say the suspect pulled over on Agate Road near Mountain Avenue, but refused to get out of the vehicle. After about an hour and a half, police officers, including the Medford Police SWAT Team, approached the van and took him into custody after subduing him with a Taser.
26-year-old Christopher Cody Willard has been charged with robbery, menacing, and attempting to elude police. His bail was set at $2,014,000. Police believe he might be from California.