Sheriff: Wrong-way driver on LSD thought he was in video game 'Grand Theft Auto'
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (KVAL) – A man high on LSD stole a car from the scene of a DUII arrest and took off, driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 and other roads before deputies finally managed to stop the car Saturday night, authorities in southwest Oregon say.
Then the suspect ran off - and tried to steal another car, authorities say.
Deputies caught up to him and took him into custody.
That's when he admitted to taking LSD - and "told deputies he believed he was in the video game 'Grand Theft Auto' and the police were trying to catch him," the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said the chase started around 8:25 p.m. at the scene of a DUII arrest at Highway 66 and Emigrant Lake Road.
Deputies were waiting for tow trucks to arrive after making multiple arrests.
That's when authorities say Anthony Joseph Clark, 23, got into one of the impounded vehicles - a tan 2003 Toyota Camry - and drove off.
"An OSP trooper attempted to physically stop Clark, but Clark was able to flee in the vehicle," the sheriff's office said. "Clark drove off the roadway, evading law enforcement vehicles nearby, then drove toward Ashland on Highway 66. He turned onto Interstate 5 at exit 14, driving north on the shoulder of the southbound lanes."
The sheriff's office chronicled the chase:
Clark turned around on the freeway near mile marker 16 and drove south, back toward exit 14. An Ashland Police Department officer caught up to Clark. Clark exited and drove west on Ashland Street toward Southern Oregon University. The vehicle turned north on Walker Avenue and crashed through multiple industrial gates off the roadway. The pursuit was terminated as the vehicle entered the more populated area.
After driving through the downtown area, Clark was seen driving south on Siskiyou Boulevard in the northbound lanes. He turned around again and headed north through downtown. A JCSO deputy caught up to the vehicle as it left the Ashland city limits.
Clark continued north on Highway 99 toward Talent. The deputy followed at a distance to discourage high speeds. A Talent Police Department officer deployed spike strips near the intersection with Rapp Road. Clark continued driving north on Highway 99, despite the vehicle’s deflating rear tires. Clark drove north in the southbound lanes of Main Street (Highway 99) through the city of Phoenix. A Phoenix Police Department officer was able to successfully deploy spike strips near the intersection with Northridge Terrace, deflating the front tires.
Medford Police Department and additional JCSO deputies blocked off arterial roadways ahead. Deputies applied multiple pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuvers, finally stopping the vehicle in the 3400-block of South Pacific Highway (99).
"Clark attempted to ram a patrol car," the sheriff's office said, "and then ran from the vehicle."
State troopers captured Clark as he tried to steal a car in a nearby mobile home park, the sheriff's office said.
Clark later told deputies he had taken LSD - and believed he was in the video game, the sheriff's office said.
It wasn't a game.
Clark now faces numerous charges in different jurisdictions.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested him on suspicion of attempting to elude an officer in a vehicle, attempting to elude an officer on foot, driving under the influence of intoxicants (controlled substance), unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person.
The Ashland Police Department arrested Clark on suspicion of recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, first degree criminal mischief, attempting to elude an officer in a vehicle, second degree criminal trespass, and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.
Oregon State Police arrested him on charges of recklessly endangering another person and third degree escape.