Thomas Wayne Peckham III

Medford man steals pizza-delivery vehicle, leads police on quick chase

A Medford man allegedly jumped into a pizza-delivery man's vehicle Friday while it idled in a customer's driveway and drove off, leading police from multiple agencies on a quick chase through Medford and Central Point that ended with spike strips, flat tires, a PIT stop, a foot chase and the man's arrest.

Teddy Wayne Peckham III, 28, a Medford transient, is being held in the Jackson County Jail on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, attempt to elude, hit and run, possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting arrest, second-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief. His bail is set at $94,000, jail records show.

Police said the vehicle, a 2001 Toyota pickup, had been left running at a home in the Clover Lane area at about 7:30 p.m. Friday while an employee from Angelo's Pizza made a delivery. They allege Peckham had been walking by when he jumped in the vehicle and took off. Police said it was likely a crime of opportunity.

The employee and customer who had ordered the pizza followed Peckham in the customer's vehicle while they called the police.

"They told us the direction they were headed, kept the dispatchers updated while the officers were responding to the area," said Capt. Terry Larson with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies, joined by officers from Oregon State Police and Medford, Jacksonville and Central Point, converged on the vehicle near the intersection of Hanley Road and West Main Street. Police attempted a stop, but Peckham hit the accelerator and rushed past, police said.

Officers gave chase, pursuing Peckham through Medford to Central Point. Officers deployed spike strips near Rossanley Road, which popped the vehicle's two front tires.

The truck continued driving, police in tow, and made it to Central Point until a sheriff's deputy used a PIT maneuver that caused the vehicle to spin out. When the vehicle came to a stop, Peckham fled on foot before he was apprehended and arrested near Freeman Road. The chase and subsequent arrest took less than 10 minutes, police officials said.

Larson said thieves taking cars that drivers leave unattended while they warm up during the winter months are not uncommon. Friday night's quick chase was a different matter.

"I think it's a pretty rare thing. I know it happens from time to time," Larson said. "(But) I don't ever recall a pizza delivery or something like that where they just jumped in."

— Ryan Pfeil

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