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Springfield Police: 2 arrested after dangerous high speed pursuit of stolen car

Springfield Police pursued a stolen Honda in a high speed pursuit, October 119, 2017. (Photo via Springfield Police Department)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. --Police arrested two people after a high speed pursuit in Lane County in the middle of the night.

Around 12:45 a.m. Thursday, a Springfield Police officer observed an unreported stolen Honda Accord near Pheasant Blvd and Harlow Rd. while targeting the area due to recent auto theft activity.

As the officer turned around, the suspect vehicle fled, reaching speeds of 70 mph prior to the officer activating his overhead lights.

The suspect drove through the Gateway area and into Eugene on Harlow Rd. at speeds reaching 88 mph.

After turning south on Coburg Rd., the driver, identified as Dakota Dale Stover, entered I-105 westbound at speeds reaching 80 mph.

He then exited onto W. 6th Ave. where a Lane Count Sherifff's deputy laid spike strips, deflating the driver’s-side tires.

Police say Stover continued to drive until the tire detached from the car, leaving just the rim. Once he reached Hwy 99 and Royal, the vehicle caught fire.

With flames billowing from the vehicle, Stover still continued driving at speeds up to 55 mph, police said.

Near Fairfield, Stover finally pulled over and both Stover and a passenger, Belinda Angelina Merlos of Springfield, were removed as flames entered the interior of the car.

Eugene-Springfield Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.

Stover, who's listed as homless, and Merlos were lodged at the Lane County Jail.

Stover, who had three outstanding arrest warrants, was charged with eluding by vehicle, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools, reckless driving, and reckless endangering

Merlos was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. She also had a parole and probation warrant for methamphetamine.

Authorities say a detective is assisting with the investigation and additional charges are possible.

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