Medford police played a cat-and-mouse game Monday afternoon with a wanted felon who sped so dangerously on downtown residential streets that officers repeatedly backed off their pursuits to ensure no one got hurt.
The 20-minute speeding spree through downtown and adjacent west Medford neighborhood was the latest — and what police hope is the last — incident in which Abdur Rashid Ali-Woods sped away from police with zero regard for traffic laws and pedestrian safety, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
"Because we know him and his complete disregard for traffic laws, we didn't want to chase him around at 3 p.m. when there are kids getting out of school," Budreau said. "Hopefully, he'll quit driving like an idiot and park it.
"We'll get him another day," Budreau said.
Ali-Woods, 51, had an address on the 1200 block of Mt. Pitt Street in Medford when he was arrested Jan. 7 on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, hit-and-run driving, reckless driving and possession of methamphetamine, Budreau said. But Ali-Woods did have a valid driver's license, he said.
Warrants were issued for him last month on charges of second-degree theft and violating the conditions of his parole from a previous robbery conviction, Budreau said.
He was spotted at about 2:44 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel on North Riverside Avenue behind the wheel of a black 2001 Pontiac Grand Am four-door sedan registered to a woman in Ashland, Budreau said. Officers followed the Grand Am until it stopped at a mission on Jackson Street, where officers approached Ali-Woods on foot, Budreau said.
Ali-Woods allegedly sped south on Fir Street down to 10th Street, and officers backed off their pursuit, police said. He was spotted driving at a high rate of speed on Grape Street, and again along Oakdale Avenue as officers considered laying spike strips in the street to slow and disable the vehicle, police said.
"He was seen by officers and witnesses driving really fast," but no estimated speed was available, Budreau said.
Twice after police backed off following Ali-Woods, he stopped the vehicle before continuing, Budreau said.
He was last spotted at 3:04 p.m. speeding on Jasper Street, Budreau said.
"We'll get him," Budreau said.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.