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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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October 31, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 31, 2012
 

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Page 8 VotJi ( _C I IMIINITV Tilt - October 31,2012 located Williams and avoided additional al- leged attempts by Williams to ram his patrol From page 1 car. Fielders was able to get in front of Wil- enue, stopped in the middle of the street, then liams, who then allegedly attempted to ram intentionally accelerated in reverse, crashing Fielders' car with the front of his pickup. Mu- into the front of a 2011 Ford Crown Victo- eller said Fielders was able to turn his patrol ria Sweet Home patrol car driven by Officer car around in an attempt to avoid Williams' Brian Stevens at the intersection of Third and - ramming attempts; however Williams side- Juniper, Mueller said. swiped the patrol car in the 1600 block of 4th The airbags in the patrol car deployed, Avenue, caving in the driver's side doors. and Sievens sustained a sprained left wrist. Fielders received minor facial cuts from Tiffany Hamn was inside her house, lo- the broken side window glass. The patrol car cated near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and is a total loss, Mueller said. Juniper Street when she heard what, she said, During the collision with the patrol sounded like a racetrack with sirens added, car, the steering mechanism in Williams' She had heard them go by once, and then pickup broke, Mueller said, causing the they returned, pickup to crash into a residential retain- She went out the front door, followed by ing wall about 50 yards away. Williams al- her 4-year-old son Kyle, to see what was go- legedly attempted to flee on foot, but was ing on. taken into custody by the Sweet Home of- "That truck was going forward, and he ricers and Linn County deputies on scene. backed up into the police car and dragged it," Fielders, LYnn and Stevens were evaluated Hamn said. The police car was at the south- at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, ern edge of the intersection, where they were treated and released. The Crown Victoria, driven by Stevens, Burford said that Lynn was back at work was being pushed back about a half block Thursday and Stevens had been assigned north on 3rd Avenue, she said. It frightened light duty until he got clearance from doctors, her son. which Burford said he anticipated would oc- "That's when me and Kyle went inside," cur early this week. Hamn said, adding that another neighbor was Riley said injuries to Fielders were "very screaming something, minor." Outside, Williams accelerated forward, "Everybody's good," he said. "Nobody stopped, accelerated in reverse again, alleg- missed any work." edly intentionally rammed into a 2007 Chev- The vehicles are another matter, Riley rolet Impala Sweet Home patrol car driven and Burford said (see accompanying story). by Sgt. Jeff Lynn, Mueller said. The Oregon State Police, working in Lynn received minor injuries from conjunction with members of the Linn Coun- the collision. The airbags in the Impala de- ty Multi Agency Investigation Team (MAIT), ployed, responded to assist with the investigation. Ad- Both the cars driven 15y Stevens and ditional assistance was provided by the Sweet Lynn are likely total losses, officials say. Home Fire Department, theAlbany Police De- Lynn's car was followed by Linn County partmem and the Lebanon Police Department. Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Opel driving a 2010 Ford Williams was not injured and was Mustang. transported to the Linn County Jail. Williams was able to push the Impala sev- The case remains under investigation and ad- eral hundred feet backward, causing the rear ditional charges are anticipated. of the Impala to collide with the from of the Burford said pursuits such as last week's Mustang. Opel was not injured and the front are less common than they used to be, thanks of the Mustang was moderately damaged, to changes in Oregon law. Williams continued to drive south on Third "Pursuits used to be very commonplace," Avenue and allegedly attempted to back into he said. "Nobody liked them. Thankfully, the a third Sweet Home police car but missed af- Legislature got serious about these things and ter the officer in the car successfully maneu- made it a felony to attempt to elude a police vered out of the way, Mueller and Burford officer. That cut down on the number of these said. things that we have to deal with." Williams instead rammed a parked 1989 But officers train "as often as we can'" Honda CRX, owned by Blain Bates of Sweet on a track facility for such situations, and go Home, near the intersection of 3rd and Iron- through monthly refresher training on proce- wood. No one was in the Honda. It is also a dures, Burford said. total loss, Mueller said. "Every officer and deputy involved used Williams continued, turning east on Elm their training and experience to bring this guy Street where he stopped in the middle of the imo custody without injury to himself and street. Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Fielders, operat- before he seriously hurt somebody else. As ing a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car, long as no officers and citizens were hurt, in Photos by Sean C. Morgan Joe Williams'pickup rests against a retaining wall where the vehicle crashed on 4th Avenue. Below, bystanders gather around a Honda CRX that was hit on 3rd Avenue. the scheme of things, the other damage is mi- happened. nor." "We know when we deal with volatile "Everybody, from what we know rightsituations like this, that most of the time in now, did a great job." pursuits people are trying to get away. Once Burford said he has not experiencedin a whiJe, a person is trying to do damage to anything quite like it since he began his law our people. enforcement career in 1977. "If someone's willing to ram police cars, "I don't think I've ever seen anybody they are quite a danger to the entire public. use his vehicle as a weapon, specifically tar- A person like that needs to be taken off the geting police vehicles." streets and put in jail. Property is much easier Riley said the damage done to equip- to replace than injuries to people. ment is "minor" in light of what could have "It could have been a lot worse." By Sean C. Morgan part of the department's normal re- Of The New Era placement cycle. The police chase in Sweet Remaining marked vehicles Home last week left the city Police include the 2012 Charger added to Department with five marked units the fleet earlier this year, two more and the Linn County Sheriff's Of- Impalas and two more Fords. rice down at least one for sure, of- One of the remaining Impalas ficials say. is used by a sergeant. The wrecked The two disabled Sweet HomeImpala had been used by the other units are a 2011 Ford Crown Victo- sergeant. ria and a 2007 Chevrolet Impala. The regular patrol fleet has "We strongly suspect they're one remaining Impala, which the totaled," said Police Chief Bob department has been phasing out in Burford. recent years. The Sheriff's Office is "pretty What will happen next depends sure" one of its units is "definitely on how insurance is going to handle totaled," Undersheriff Bruce Riley the wrecked vehicles, Burford said. said. "There was minor damage to He believes the Impala will be to- another vehicle." taled, while there is a possibility of The county and city are part of repairing the Crown Victoria. insurance pool with other city and The remaining vehicles are county agencies, enough to run a shift, but the ad- The Police Department recent- ditional cars are necessary when ly ordered its second Dodge Char- others are down for maintenance, ger, but that won't be available till Burford said. after the first of the year, said Police "We'll have to consolidate offi- Bob Burford. The 2013 Charger is cers into other cars remaining in the A Sweet Home enue. Impala, driven by Sgt. Photo by Sean C. Morgan Jeff Lynn, is disabled on Third Av- fleet," he said. "It will be an incon- venience but we can get by in the interim until we can get these cars replaced. We have the car that was being retired that we can utilize to get us by for a while." Once the department receives an insurance settlement, then of- ficials will decide what to do next with the fleet, Burford said. Riley said the loss of a patrol car is "a big deal," and has a big im- pact on the Sheriff's Office, v hich is self-insured, meaning it has to pay to replace or fix the cars out of its own funds. The department has a fleet of 47 marked patrol vehicles. But he said criminals some- times have to pay restitution for damage to vehicles once they are convicted, though it may or may not actually result in funds for the department. "It's not uncommon that we don't see anything at all," he said. "It's frustrating."