Suspect fleeing traffic stop injured attempting to jump from moving vehicle

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The driver of a rental-type truck fled from a Siskiyou County Sheriff’s deputy in the early morning hours of Sept. 12 and was seriously injured when he attempted to jump from the moving vehicle, got tangled in the seatbelt, was run over by his truck and dragged about 10 feet.

The suspect, a 47 year old man with an address in Union City, was airlifted to a hospital out of the area for treatment, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office regarding the incident.

Authorities are also searching for the occupants of four other vehicles that were driving in front of and behind the moving truck at the time of the attempted traffic stop on Mathews Road, near Durham Road, for a lighting violation.

After the suspect was treated by medical personnel, a check of the cargo area of the rental type-truck revealed a large quantity of illegal marijuana, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

When the deputy attempted to initiate an enforcement stop on the rental-type moving truck, he attempted to pass two vehicles traveling behind the truck.

As the deputy passed a Dodge pickup truck with New Jersey license plates, the pickup veered into the deputy’s lane of travel. This action appeared to be a deliberate attempt to divert the deputy from the enforcement action against the rental-type truck, and the action of the pickup driver may have been a deliberate attempt to run the deputy’s vehicle off the road to protect what was later discovered to be an illegal drug load, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

The rental truck then ran through a stop sign without stopping at Mathews and Picard Road. After getting behind the rental truck with all emergency lights and siren activated, the driver of the vehicle accelerated to a speed in excess of 65 miles per hour in an apparent attempt to flee the scene.

After about one mile, the rental truck slowed to 25 to 30 miles per hour, the Sheriff’s Office reported. The deputy observed the driver’s door open and the driver attempted to jump from the moving vehicle. The driver appeared to get tangled in the truck’s seat belt and fell to the ground.

The rental truck veered north off the roadway into a nearby field. While the truck was still in motion, it ran over the errant driver and he was dragged about 10 feet, the Sheriff’s Office said.

After the mishap with the driver and rental truck, the three other vehicles previously observed stopped about 200 yards behind the scene and blocked both lanes of traffic. The deputy secured the rental truck and checked the injured driver while the other vehicles remained stopped for two to three minutes. Due to obvious deputy safety concerns, the deputy took a position of cover and waited for assistance while armed with his patrol rifle. Shortly thereafter, the suspicious vehicles and drivers fled the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said.

After arrival of CAL FIRE first responders, The driver of the rental truck sustained serious injuries and he was treated by CAL FIRE firefighters, Butte Valley Ambulance crew members, and Dorris Fire Department firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. The suspect was transported to a local hospital, and later a hospital out of the area.

The California Highway Patrol responded to assist and later took the lead on handling the traffic mishap involving the rental truck and driver. United States Forest Service Ranger units also assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

It is anticipated a criminal complaint will be filed through the Siskiyou County District Attorney against the rental truck driver for possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana for sale, and evading arrest charges.

After the illicit marijuana plants were counted and weighed, it was determined the truck was carrying 50 mature marijuana plants that were cut and ready for processing. The illegal marijuana weighed 1,150 pounds.

An investigation is being conducted to identify and locate the other vehicle operators, which investigators believe were attempting to interfere with the deputy’s enforcement stop. It is believed at least two of the suspect drivers reside in the local Dorris area, the Sheriff’s Office reported. Criminal charges may be filed against those suspects but the investigation is still underway.

Marijuana, firearm confiscated

In a separate incident at approximately 8 p.m. on the same day, another Sheriff’s deputy initiated an enforcement stop on a vehicle in the Dorris area. This enforcement stop resulted in the recovery of a loaded .38 caliber revolver and 107.8 pounds of illegal marijuana, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

At about the same time, the deputy involved in the early-morning enforcement stop involving the rental type-truck recovered 211.4 pounds of processed marijuana contained in 12 separate bags when he stopped two females in the Dorris area in another vehicle. The suspects in both of the enforcement stops were cited and released and will face multiple charges.

The Sheriff’s Office said the number of vehicles leaving the Dorris area’s Pleasant Valley Highlands area laden with large quantities of illicit marijuana may be related to a series of counter-drug operations conducted this week by the North State Major Investigation Team, a regional, California Department of Justice team.

A series of counter-drug operations conducted in the Dorris Pleasant Valley Highland, Long Gulch and Gazelle-Callahan areas on September 9, 10, 11, and 12 resulted in the seizure of 5,955 illegal marijuana plants, and 894 pounds of processed marijuana. The operations resulted in the arrest and booking of four suspects, the detention and identification of 11 additional persons, and the seizure of two firearms.

“This was a very productive week for ... deputies, counter-drug agents, and our federal, state, and local partners,” said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey. “The enforcement stops were conducted by deputies under potentially dangerous circumstances but both of them did their jobs and did it well, especially in view of the apparent direct intervention of co-conspirators in an effort to divert or deliberately obstruct the first deputy from detecting the large, illicit drug load in the rental truck. NSMIT operations were also highly-productive and all seizures of illegal drugs, firearms, and the arrest or identification of drug trafficking suspects again illustrates the magnitude of the illegal marijuana drug trade in Siskiyou County and region.” ‘

These incidents are still under investigation and anyone with information about these cases or other illegal drug activities should contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.