THE DALLES, Ore. — Oregon State Police used spike strips Thursday to stop an elderly Washington driver who bumped a patrol car and raced off at speeds as high as 80 mph after troopers found the man traveling in a closed section of Interstate 84, a police spokesman said.
Police were investigating a freeway gun battle that left a motorist dead and a trooper wounded when they spotted the man driving in the closed area.
Troopers told the man to turn around in the eastbound lanes and take the nearest exit, Lt. Gregg Hastings said. The driver turned around but didn’t exit, instead continuing westbound in the eastbound lanes — right into an extensive backup of drivers halted by the road closure.
Eastbound vehicles were pulling out of the way to avoid the oncoming Chevrolet Blazer, the spokesman said.
The driver then crossed a dirt median into the open, westbound lanes, bumped a patrol car that tried to pull him over and raced off. With three tires shredded, the vehicle finally stopped in The Dalles.
Marseill William Gunnyon, 91, of Toppenish, was arrested for investigation of felony attempt to elude, reckless driving and misdemeanor hit and run.
The man had a valid driver’s license and there was no evidence of intoxication, Hastings said. The driver did talk to troopers after he finally stopped but Hastings declined to discuss what he said.