A man who allegedly stole three pickups and tried to steal two others over a 24-hour period led police on a high-speed chase Thursday that ended on a dead-end road in west Medford, police reported.
Christopher Alan Page, a 29-year-old transient, was being held in the Jackson County Jail Friday on three counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; two counts of attempted unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; unlawful entry into a motor vehicle; first-degree theft; second-degree criminal mischief; attempting to elude police — in a vehicle and on foot — and reckless driving. His bail is set at $113,000, jail records show.
During the chase, Page crossed over the center lane into oncoming traffic on Columbus Avenue and drove onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street, said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police. Page also blew through stop signs and red lights at high speeds.
"We are very lucky he did not get into a devastating accident," Budreau said.
Police said Page started breaking into vehicles Wednesday. They received reports of a man they believe to have been Page trying to break into two Toyota pickups at the south Medford Walmart parking lot Wednesday morning. Video captured by the store showed a man trying to break into two vehicles, which prompted a police response.
"But by the time we got there, he was gone," Budreau said.
A report of a stolen pickup from Phoenix came in Thursday morning. Police said Page parked that vehicle at the Rogue Valley Mall, then broke into another truck and hot-wired it.
"He actually did get it going right about the time the victim came out, and he got out and ran," Budreau said.
At 4 p.m., police received a report that a truck had been taken from a driveway in the 300 block of Beatty Street in Medford. Five minutes later, police spotted the truck, a 2005 Chevy Silverado, near the intersection of Fourth and Grape streets. The truck sped north on Columbus Avenue when police attempted to pull the driver over. Officers backed off due to Page's high speeds, lane crossing and blowing of stop signs and red lights.
"Not something we're going to follow. It's just not worth the risk," Budreau said.
Police saw Page turn onto a dead-end road near the Medford Public Works Department building, where Medford police store evidence and fill up their vehicles. After Page hit the dead-end, he ran from the vehicle, but police found him hiding in some bushes nearby.
Police said Page admitted to the vehicle thefts and attempted break-ins. He does not have any other significant criminal history in Jackson County, court records show. Police believe he's from Josephine County.
"We don't have a lot of contact with him," Budreau said. "He came down here and was apparently on a tear with stealing cars."
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.