A high-speed chase on Highway 99E through Canby Monday afternoon ended with a rollover crash on Interstate 205.
It all started when a Canby police officer — who was participating in an unrelated pedestrian safety enforcement operation on South Ivy Street — noticed a large, white Budget rental truck pulling an empty boat trailer, which matched the description of a suspect vehicle involved in multiple thefts of trailers and gasoline in Canby.
Patrol officers initiated a traffic stop on South Lone Elder Road near Highway 170. The truck initially pulled over and stopped, but as police officers approached the vehicle, the driver quickly re-entered the roadway and drove away at a high rate of speed.
Thanks to the pedestrian safety enforcement operation, there were an unusually concentrated number of patrol units in the area, and a pursuit ensued.
The pursuit wound from 99E in Canby to I-205 northbound, with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon City Police Department and other agencies joining the effort. As Canby police Lt. Jose Gonzalez explained later that day, the coordination and cooperation between multiple agencies is key when a pursuit crosses multiple jurisdictions, as this one did.
Law enforcement attempted to stop the truck with spike strips at five separate locations, two of which were ultimately successful in deflating the truck’s tires: Highway 99E at the north end of the Molalla River Bridge in Canby, Highway 99E at South End Road, Highway 99E near the Oregon City tunnel, Highway 99E at South McLoughlin Blvd and I-205 near Johnson Creek Boulevard.
The latter two were successful in deflating the tires on the boat trailer and the rear tires of the truck, but the driver continued to flee until deputies successfully initiated a Pursuit Intervention Technique, also called a PIT maneuver.
Inspired by the “bump and run” technique in stock car racing, the PIT involves using a patrol car with a reinforced bumper to bump a suspect vehicle on the side near the rear wheel.
The maneuver caused the truck to spin out, ultimately striking a berm on the side of the road and rolling. Two male occupants were secured by police and transported to a medical facility for treatment and evaluation.
The driver was identified by Canby police as 29-year-old Ryan Anthony Ellis, 29. He faces numerous charges, including attempting to elude police, reckless driving, reckless endangering, resisting arrest, failure to perform the duties of a driver and second-degree assault.
Additionally, the truck Ellis was driving has been confirmed to have been stolen.
The passenger, a 39-year-old man who has not been identified, is denying involvement with any criminal activity and has not been taken into custody. Canby police say they are currently considering him a “possible victim,” while they continue to investigate his involvement.
The truck was loaded with items, some of which were scattered across the roadway in the rollover crash. Of immediate concern were two metal 55-gallon barrels believed to contain gasoline. Clackamas Fire was called to address this concern and mitigate any environmental impact.
Here’s some B-roll video from the scene.
MEDIA: Contact Canby PD PIO with any additional questions. pic.twitter.com/UKd6YC18Kv
— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) September 23, 2019
Although CCSO reported that the goods in the truck are believed to be stolen, Lt. Gonzalez would not go that far. He said only that the investigation is continuing.
“We’re still investigating that,” he said. “We’ll be interviewing the people who will eventually be taken into custody, and we have more investigation to do.”
Although Gonzalez estimated that the chase wound through Canby city limits for less than a minute, it made a big impression on any resident who saw it, many of whom shared their experiences on local Facebook pages and groups.
Chealsey D’Anne Lewis shared what she called a “very scary, near-death experience,” as she claimed she was nearly hit by the suspect vehicle as it barreled recklessly through an intersection.
She was in a turning lane, attempting to turn onto Highway 99E, when a Canby Fire truck blared its horn to alert her to the danger.
“The moment I got into the southbound lane, I saw it,” she recalled. “A huge Budget rental truck heading north in the southbound lane, skipping traffic that was backed up at the light by driving in my lane. I BARELY got out of the way as he flew past me followed by about 10 police cars in a high-speed chase.”
She said she’s alive now because of the firefighters’ warning, and plans to bring them some muffins as a token of thanks.
Photos courtesy the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
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