One man was arrested and a child is safe after a low-speed chase through downtown Medford involving a stolen Pace Arrow motor home ended in an alley behind the Mail Tribune.
At least nine Oregon State Police and Medford police vehicles stormed the alley between the Concord apartment complex and the newspaper’s main offices just after 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, with about a dozen officers taking into custody a dreadlocked, shirtless man holding a small child in his arms. Oregon State Police identified the man as 34-year-old Aubrey Rain General, described as a transient from Grants Pass.
The incident began before 6:30 a.m. when Oregon State Police checked on the motor home and a vehicle it had been towing, which reportedly blocked traffic outside Talent near Highway 99 and West Valley View Road, according to Medford police Lt. Justin Ivens. The RV and the vehicle it had been towing appeared to be occupied, but no one answered when police knocked, so a trooper tagged the front window to be towed.
The car the RV had been towing was ditched later Wednesday morning in south Medford, blocking an entrance to the Bear Creek Greenway, according to Ivens. Police contacted the registered owner of the car, a relative of General, who said she feared her child was with General and believed he was using drugs.
Police later reached the registered owner of the motor home, who told police the vehicle had been stolen.
At about 11:41 a.m., an OSP trooper spotted the Pace Arrow from Interstate 5 near the Adult Shop in Medford. After waiting for Medford police backup, the trooper observed the motor home pulling onto Barnett Road.
Minutes later, Medford police attempted to pull over the motor home on Riverside Avenue, but the driver failed to stop, prompting a low-speed chase through downtown Medford.
“However, it was stopping for traffic lights and traffic control signals,” Ivens said.
An effort to use spike strips was unsuccessful, as was an attempt to stop the motor home at the intersection of Ninth Street and Central Avenue, according to Ivens.
Police attempted to block the Pace Arrow while it was stopped for a traffic light at Ninth and Central, but the motor home rammed an OSP patrol vehicle and a bystander’s vehicle, according to police.
Although the OSP Dodge Charger Pursuit was apparently drivable by the end of the chase, it had a torn front end and the push bumper was bent ahead of the grill.
“The driver attempted to take off, ramming the OSP patrol car,” Ivens said.
Continuing to drive at low speeds, the motor home pulled into the alleyway between the Mail Tribune and the Concord apartments, with pursuit vehicles blocking both ends of the alley. The motor home stopped before attempting to pull into a covered parking area at the Concord, which was too low for the RV to enter.
“Luckily by his location where he drove, it brought this thing to an end where he ended up coming down this alley,” Ivens said.
Medford police typically discontinue police chases when the driver is putting others at risk, but Ivens said police contin2ued this one largely out of concern for the child.
“I don’t have all the information, but I know that OSP was concerned about that child being with this suspect,” Ivens said. “Obviously, the safety of this small child was first and foremost on our minds in getting this vehicle stopped.”
General was taken into custody after exiting the vehicle holding the small child, who appears to be in good health, according to OSP.
General was booked in the Jackson County Jail on felony charges of attempting to elude police in a vehicle and first-degree criminal mischief, and on misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and for violating his parole on a 2015 conviction for second-degree burglary out of Josephine County.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.