The day before he allegedly engaged Medford and Oregon State police in a low-speed chase through downtown that ended right behind the Mail Tribune’s main office, Aubrey Rain General had driven his wife to work in Medford using her newer Nissan sedan, but never picked her up.
In the time General apparently went missing, Oregon State Police believe General took his 2-year-old son with him to an Ashland storage area burglary, where he procured the RV involved in the police chase, as well as a Honda motorcycle found within the motor home, according to court documents filed in his case.
General, 35, of the 4400 block of Foothill Boulevard, Grants Pass, made his initial appearance Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court on a string of felony theft, burglary, criminal mischief and elude charges in the chase that ended with the motor home boxed in an alley near the Jackson County Housing Authority apartment complex, and drawing at least a dozen police to the scene.
The 35-foot Pace Arrow RV is believed to have been taken sometime after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday from an Ashland storage area in the 100 block of Lowe Road, according to affidavits filed by Medford and Ashland police in the case.
Oregon State Police next saw the RV at 6:10 a.m. Wednesday parked while towing a black 2016 Nissan Versa sedan near the Jackson Wellsprings, where the vehicles blocked an RVTD bus stop. The registered owner had no idea the RV had been stolen until police called later that morning.
Police knocked on the RV door and tried to make contact, but “the occupant refused to communicate and ultimately rolled up the windows and hid behind curtains,” according to an affidavit filed by OSP. A trooper placed a bright orange tow sticker on the windshield and left at 6:30 a.m.
OSP checked the site again at 7:40 a.m., finding the RV had left, but the Nissan had been “parked at an angle across the bike path” near Highway 99.
Police contacted the Nissan’s owner, who described herself as General’s wife, and said she last saw General Tuesday afternoon when he gave her a ride to work. She allegedly told police that he was likely using methamphetamine but told police that General was a “good father and wouldn’t hurt her son.”
“I explained that her husband had brought their 2-year-old with him to burglarize a property and stole a 35-foot long motorhome and tried to tow her vehicle with it,” the OSP affidavit says, adding that with that information, she feared for her child’s welfare.
Court documents filed by OSP indicate that police were in the process of securing an Amber Alert for the child when a trooper spotted the RV parked near the Adult Shop just before 11:45 a.m., expedited with the aid of Medford police.
Medford police and OSP learned through a Josephine County probation officer that General had a warrant for absconding from his parole following prior burglary convictions and has a tendency to be combative with law enforcement, court documents say.
During the low-speed chase, police attempted to pull over General as he headed north on Riverside Avenue, but General wouldn’t stop. At the corner of Ninth Street and Central Avenue, General stopped at a light but rammed an OSP cruiser when the trooper tried to block him. The collision did more than $1,000 to the patrol vehicle, and struck another parked car before police stopped it in the alley behind the newspaper’s offices at 111 N. Fir St.
The owner of the RV reported his motor home damaged and in disarray from the chase, court documents say. The RV suffered exterior damage after ramming the police car, along with damage to the steering column.
Further, Medford police found a Honda motorcycle from the storage unit within the RV. The RV’s owner told police his storage unit had been locked and secured just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
General faces felony charges of attempting to elude police in a vehicle, first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree burglary and first-degree theft, and misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person, hit-and-run, reckless driving and second-degree criminal mischief.
At a Thursday court appearance, Circuit Judge Tim Barnack set bail at $50,000 with enhanced conditions such as regular check-ins upon his release. As of Thursday evening, General remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or . Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.