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Robert David Hutsell

Medford car chase began with suspected drug deal

A Medford man with a criminal history spanning close to three decades faces charges after a midday police chase that involved a crash in east Medford.

Robert David Hutsell, 47, is set to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court Thursday following a police pursuit that began when a Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force detective witnessed an alleged drug deal in south Medford late Wednesday morning. The chase led police along Interstate 5 and through Medford.

A MADGE detective witnessed a hand-to-hand drug deal on Alba Drive, according to a Medford police press release.

Hutsell, driving a white Saturn sedan, allegedly eluded police and drove at a “high rate of speed” after they attempted to stop him near Barnett Road and Garfield Street, according to a court document filed by a MADGE detective.

A MADGE detective saw Hutsell enter northbound Interstate 5 from the Exit 27 on-ramp, according to a document filed by the detective in Hutsell’s case. The vehicle continued to elude at a high rate of speed and took I-5 to Exit 30, then headed east on Highway 62.

A Medford officer caught up with Hutsell near the area of East Main Street and South Modoc Avenue and then boxed the Saturn in near the intersection of Barnett Road and Highland Drive, according to the news release.

Hutsell, of the 3600 block of South Pacific Highway, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on two felony counts of attempt to elude police in a vehicle, misdemeanor reckless driving, and on a federal warrant from the U.S. Marshals Service charging him with violating his parole on a 1997 weapons conviction, according to jail and court records.

In 1997, Hutsell was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, U.S. District Court records show. Further details, including charges, were not immediately available because his hard copy case file was sent to the Federal Records Center archives in 2003.

State court records available electronically, however, indicate the crime involved a homicide.

Josephine County Circuit Court records show that Hutsell was charged in June 1997 with aggravated murder, felon in possession of a firearm and carrying or using a dangerous weapon before the case moved to the federal court system.

Hutsell’s felony convictions date back three decades in Jackson County, court records show, when he was convicted of second-degree assault in September 1988.

Hutsell’s most recent felony conviction was a 2011 methamphetamine possession case in Josephine County. The conviction violated terms of his federal probation, court records show.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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