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Suspect in high-speed chase still unaccounted for

A week after he and two other Klamath Falls men allegedly led police on a violent pursuit on Highway 66, Christopher Sellars hasn't been seen nor heard from by police or family members.

Sellars, 32, along with 25-year-old Levi Cortez and 24-year-old William Noble, is accused of throwing an incendiary device made from a gas can at state police vehicles during a pursuit that began the evening of Dec. 19 near Klamath Falls when the suspects' Ford SUV failed to yield during a traffic stop.

Under a grand jury indictment returned Dec. 24 in Jackson County Circuit Court, all three men are charged with attempted first-degree assault and the unlawful manufacture and possession of a destructive device, in addition to the manufacture, delivery and possession of methamphetamine.

Sellars, whom police believe to be the driver, according to court documents, is also charged with attempting to elude a police officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police recovered a 9mm pistol from the vehicle, and Cortez allegedly told arresting officers that Noble had made comments about shooting at the pursuing troopers, according to court documents.

Cortez surrendered to troopers when the vehicle finally stopped near milepost 18, but police say Noble and Sellars fled into the woods near Hyatt Lake. Noble surrendered to police the next morning at a residence nearby, but Sellars' sister Beverly Baker said nobody has heard from her brother since.

State police SWAT team members and Jackson County sheriff's deputies spent the weekend scouring the area for Sellars, but have yet to find him. Baker said some of Sellars' friends and family members have since gone out looking for him on their own, but also had no success.

"I am in no way condoning the crimes that have happened," Baker wrote in an email Friday. "What I am concerned with is Chris' safety and well-being. He is wanted, yes, but he is also a missing person at this point."

A sudden cold front brought snow and temperatures in the low 20s to the southern Cascades over the weekend, and Baker says she fears he never made it out of the woods.

"No matter how much trouble he has ever been in, he always lets someone know he is OK," Baker said. "He would never make his mom worry like this."

The Oregon State Police Central Point Area Command was not immediately available Friday for comment as to the status of the search for Sellars.

Residents of the Hyatt Lake area who see suspicious persons or activity, or anybody with information regarding Sellars' whereabouts, have been asked to call 911 or the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 541-776-6111.

"As his family, we would rather have him locked up than dead in the woods," Baker said.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.

Christopher Sellars