A man who led police on a car chase Tuesday afternoon before hiding out overnight in Hamlet was arrested Wednesday morning.
Police in northern Tillamook County attempted to stop a car that was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 101. The driver refused to stop, eventually turning around and heading north, Oregon State Police Lt. Andrew Merila said.
Police tried at least twice to stop the driver but ended the pursuit for safety reasons. The car reached speeds near 100 mph and nearly collided with other cars, Merila said.
The driver then turned onto U.S. Highway 26. Driving eastbound about 2 p.m., the driver lost control of the car, flipped over and landed in a ditch on the side of the road near Hamlet.
“We heard the brakes and everything, and we heard the car flip over,” said Rosemary Faust, who lives near the scene of the accident. “They don’t have cell service out here, so when we see a car in a ditch, we try to see what happened and help out. It wasn’t until later that we found out what was going on.”
After attempting to steal a woman’s car, the man ran away from the scene along the highway. Police cars and sirens followed about three minutes later, Faust said.
Police from three different counties then used a dog and an airplane to try to find the man in the woods.
“Ultimately, after many, many hours, we called the search off,” Clatsop County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Hoover said.
About 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, Faust saw a man on her deck that appeared to match the description police had given. On the rainy morning, he appeared to have his hands in his pockets and was shivering, Faust said. She asked him what he wanted, and he asked for a phone and jacket.
“I said, ‘No, go away,’ and shut the door,” Faust said. She then called police, who arrested the man about an hour later as he was attempting to break in to a neighbor’s garage.
Police, who are still conducting interviews, have not released the man’s name and have yet to determine charges.
Faust, who kept in touch with neighbors throughout the ordeal, said she was relieved the man was caught.
“You know, the neighbors out here are pretty friendly,” Faust said. “So everybody kept in touch and tried to figure out what was going on.”