At least five different law enforcement agencies were involved in an hour-long high-speed chase Friday morning on northbound — and later southbound U.S. 101 — that ended in California with the arrest of a Crescent City man.
The driver, later identified as 39-year-old Reynold Ford McLaren of Crescent City, is also believed to be the same man who led California Highway Patrol on a pursuit after a car wreck Thursday.
The incident in Oregon began at about 9:39 a.m. Friday when a resident on Rowland Lane in Brookings said there was a truck parked in their driveway with what appeared to be an intoxicated driver.
But when officers tried to contact the driver of the white, four-door Chevy pickup truck, he fled northbound on U.S. 101, eventually reaching speeds from 55 to 75 mph, reports said.
Officers called off the pursuit, however, as it neared Thomas Creek Bridge so as not to endanger other vehicles and Oregon Department of Transportation employees working on the one-lane bridge.
The driver crossed the bridge where Curry County sheriff’s deputies were waiting with spike strips, which release hollow spikes into tires to deflate them, forcing a vehicle to stop. But McLaren turned around near the Hooskenanden slide area, about 11 miles north of Brookings, and headed back.
Officers then lost him and temporarily called off the pursuit.
“We had a visual on the truck,” said Brookings Sgt. Travis Wright. “Then a citizen said he went into Whaleshead (Resort), and we picked up the pursuit (as he was) leaving.”
Brookings Police placed spike strips at Lone Ranch, puncturing the truck’s front left tire. But McLaren forged on and the chase was discontinued to allow him to drive through town at a safer speed.
Law enforcement renewed the pursuit in Harbor, where reports indicated McLaren was weaving across both lanes of traffic as if he were trying to make another U-turn. Employees at the weigh and bug stations near the border were warned for their safety.
The driver eventually crossed the Oregon-California border, striking spike strips at Gilbert Creek, then, with only one tire intact, struck a utility pole north of Dr. Fine Bridge at Highways 101 and 197. He was taken into custody without incident at 10:45 a.m. The windows of the truck were broken and the driver’s side front rim had collapsed under the axle.
Involved in the incident were Curry and Del Norte county sheriff’s and Brookings Police departments, Oregon State Police and California Highway Patrol (CHP).
“When you’re starting to run on rims …” said CHP Officer Rick Borges said. “What do you do with something like that?”
He was arrested on charges of felony evasion of police and DUI with alcohol and drugs and lodged in jail with a $100,000 bail.
The day before...
McLaren is believed to be the same one involved in a collision Thursday south of Crescent City, Borges said. In that incident, he stayed on the scene of the wreck but inexplicably fled before law enforcement authorized him to do so.
“We had no idea why he was running,” Borges said. “He took off while we were investigating the collision. It was really odd behavior. We didn’t know if he was under the influence or something else, but speeds got a little high and traffic volume was heavy; it was no longer worth pursuing him for what we wanted.”
California Highway Patrol Area Cmdr. Larry Depee was on patrol south of the U.S. 199 exit and deployed spike strips. Depee said McLaren veered into the dirt median to avoid them and continued north on U.S. 101 through Crescent City, running a red light. Depee said he could barely make out the truck in the distance as it exceeded 90 mph in a two-lane section of highway.
“He was pretty far ahead and we could see he was driving recklessly, so we terminated the pursuit,” Depee said.
Del Norte Triplicate Staff Writer Tony Reed contributed to this report.