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Medford car chase ends in a creek

Two men allegedly steal a lumber truck, lead police through town shortly after midnight on Monday

When Rockne Stiehl and Adam Grennan stopped in a stolen pickup at a downtown Medford interchange late Saturday, Stiehl looked at the woman driver in the adjacent lane and sensed that the jig was up.

The woman appeared to realize Stiehl was driving a stolen Rogue Pacific Lumber Co. pickup ' maybe it was even her work pickup ' so he punched the gas and the pair sped away, authorities said.

Paranoid? Not this time. Stiehl was right. It was her work pickup, and the woman quickly called police to report it stolen as Stiehl and Grennan screeched down Biddle Road.

He outran her car, but not her cell phone, Medford police Lt. Mike Moran said.

Police ended up chasing Stiehl and Grennan across east Medford at speeds of more than 80 mph before the truck crashed into a creek bank off Foothill and Delta Waters roads shortly before midnight, police said.

Officers found Grennan injured at the crash site, but Stiehl fled on foot and eluded capture until police arrested him at his Medford home early Monday morning, Moran said.

Now Stiehl may end up spending his 38th birthday on Feb. 27 in the Jackson County Jail, where he was being held Monday without bail on several felony charges stemming from the pickup theft, the high-speed chase and the crash.

Grennan, 34, who suffered an injured hip, was listed in fair condition Monday at Rogue Valley Medical Center.

Moran said that Stiehl and Grennan were both cooperative with police and provided the details about their crime and their unlucky discovery.

The pair climbed the fence at Rogue Pacific Lumber, at 1187 W. McAndrews Road, hot-wired the pickup and drove away after first cutting the lock on the lumber yard's gate, Moran said.

After encountering the woman on Jackson Street and Central Avenue, the pair sped down Jackson Street, north on Biddle Road and east on Progress Drive, then into the Three Fountains Plaza parking lot before speeding away through the plaza's landscaping, Moran said.

The pickup sped through several neighboring streets before heading north on Crater Lake Avenue, then east on Delta Waters Road as police pursued, Moran said.

The pickup raced across Foothill Road, then turned along a dirt road southeast of the intersection, police said. As Stiehl tried to drive across a creek, the creekbed gave way beneath the weight of the pickup and the truck eventually crashed into the far bank, Moran said.

Officers heard Grennan yelling for help, then used a night-vision scope to find him lying adjacent to the pickup, Moran said.

Stiehl, who lives on the 1200 block of Sunset Avenue, faces charges of third-degree assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, felony eluding, misdemeanor eluding and recklessly endangering another person.

He was also wanted on warrants charging him with violating the conditions of his probation from earlier theft and drug convictions.

Grennan was not arrested at the hospital, but the case remains under investigation, Moran said.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail