Two men spotted stealing license plates in Central Point led police on a chase on rural roads and city streets before crashing in south Medford this afternoon.

Two men spotted stealing license plates in Central Point led police on a chase on rural roads and city streets before crashing in south Medford this afternoon.

The driver, Ted Jensen, who had an outstanding felony warrant, and passenger Bradley Poff were taken into custody after their vehicle ran a red light at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Center Drive, colliding with another vehicle, Jackson County Undersheriff Rod Countryman said.

Jensen bailed out of his car and ran through the store before Jackson County Sheriff's deputies caught him. Medford police took Poff out of the car at gunpoint.

An off-duty Oregon State Police trooper saw the two taking license plates and followed them, calling Central Point police to report the crime. Jensen and Poff became suspicious that someone was watching them and fled. A deputy saw them run a stop sign and tried to stop them for that violation near the 7-Eleven at 345 S. Front St., Central Point, Countryman said.

They fled down West Pine Street onto Hanley Road, speeding through the countryside. They turned onto West Main Street and raced through west Medford neighborhoods with increasing speed and recklessness, Countryman said. The deputy in pursuit dropped back after Jensen veered into oncoming lanes on Stewart Avenue, Countryman said.

As the car crossed Highway 99, a Medford police officer in place to intercept it pulled out directly behind it. Jensen didn't stop, instead running a red light and hitting another car. He jumped from the car and ran into the Fred Meyer garden center. Deputies chased him through the store and arrested him on a felony warrant and charges of eluding police on foot and in a vehicle.

— Anita Burke