MEDFORD, Ore. — A man apparently under the influence of powerful hallucinogens led police from multiple departments on a frenetic car chase from Emigrant Lake to the outskirts of Medford on Saturday evening.
According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), the incident began when deputies and Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers responded to calls in the Emigrant Lake of a party that may have involved extensive drinking and drug use.
The response took on a finer point when more calls reported a man acting very strangely around neighbors. The man was later identified as 23-year-old Anthony Clark of Grants Pass.
Two JCSO deputies had made DUII arrests near Highway 66 and Emigrant Lake Road and were awaiting the arrival of tow trucks for the vehicles involved when Clark came on the scene.
At nearly 8:30 p.m., JCSO says that Clark hopped in one of the impounded vehicles—a tan 2003 Toyota Camry—dodging an OSP trooper that tried to stop him and fleeing in the car.
Clark reportedly left the roadway to evade nearby law enforcement vehicles, then fled toward Ashland along Highway 66. He turned onto I-5 at exit 14—driving the wrong way, northbound along the shoulder of the southbound lanes.
According to JCSO, Clark turned the car around on the freeway near mile marker 16 and drove south, heading back toward exit 14. When an Ashland Police officer caught up to Clark, the suspect exited the freeway and drove west on Ashland Street toward Southern Oregon University. Clark turned north onto Walker Avenue and crashed through 'multiple industrial gates.'
The APD broke off pursuit as Clark drove into the populated area of downtown Ashland.
Clark was next sighted 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, which Clark went over. The suspect continued driving north on Highway 99, despite the vehicle’s deflating rear tires.
JCSO says that 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.