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Gas theft suspect leads deputies on dangerous car chase

According to deputies, when they tried to contact the suspect he drove his car in reverse, slamming into a patrol car.

Posted: Feb 15, 2019 7:49 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2019 10:52 AM

ALBANY, Ore. -- A Lebanon man accused of stealing gas is in jail after deputies said he led them on a car chase through Albany and onto Highway 20 on Thursday at speeds up to 85 mph.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office said Derrick Smallwood, 28, was driving a red 2000 Honda Civic with Illinois plates that was involved in a gas theft on Feb. 2 at Porter's on Highway 99E in Tangent.

At 1:38 p.m. Thursday, deputies found the vehicle at the McDonald's on the east side of Albany, and they said the driver matched the description of the theft suspect. Deputies attempted to contact the driver about the theft, but he put his vehicle into reverse and crashed into the patrol vehicle. The crash caused extensive damage, but the deputies were not injured.

The driver drove away, and deputies pursued the Honda through Albany and onto Highway 20 toward Sweet Home. Deputies used spike strips near Wiley Creek Road, deflating two tires of the Honda. Smallwood left his vehicle near milepost 48 east of Cascadia and ran down a steep embankment. 

A K-9 unit from the Albany Police Department assisted with apprehending Smallwood. Deputies said Smallwood resisted arrest, and they used a Taser on him. 

Smallwood is from Georgia but has been living in Lebanon for about a month.

He was taken to Lebanon Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Smallwood is being charged with attempt to elude in a vehicle and on foot, failure to perform the duties of a driver, reckless endangering, second-degree criminal mischief, third-degree escape, reckless driving, resisting arrest and third-degree theft.

Deputies were also assisted by the Lebanon and Sweet Home police departments and the Sweet Home Fire Department.

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