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Eagle Point man who led deputy on chase now linked to fake traffic stop

An Eagle Point man arrested Wednesday after allegedly leading a Jackson County sheriff's deputy on a pursuit through White City is now a person of interest in a police-impersonation incident earlier in the week.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department reported that search warrants served on Kevan Scott Skeels' car and home Thursday uncovered methamphetamine, firearms and police-style tactical gear, along with LED emergency lights like those used on law enforcement vehicles. 

Investigators said the car, a black 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, matched the description of a car that conducted a fake traffic stop Friday night on a White City motorist. The woman told investigators the man's behavior seemed odd for a police officer and that he fled when she threatened to call 911. The man was described as a white male, 40 to 45 years old, with an average build and thinning hair.

While the sheriff's department said it doesn't believe Skeels was driving the car Friday night, they do believe that he had used it to impersonate police officers in the past and recently had let others use it. Investigators also said one of the two firearms discovered during the search was a short-barreled shotgun, which was found in the car next to the driver's seat. Under Oregon law, possession of a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long is a Class B felony, unless the firearm has been registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Skeels, 24, has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail since Wednesday morning, after he allegedly fled from a deputy who tried to pull him over for a traffic violation near the intersection of Avenue A and Highway 62. After briefly losing track of the car, deputies were able to use spike strips to disable it near the intersection of Foothill and Corey roads.

Skeels reportedly ran but was later arrested on Highway 140 near Kershaw Road. According to a probable cause affidavit, Skeels told deputies he had fled to avoid arrest on an outstanding warrant, which jail records show stemmed from a probation violation for an earlier conviction for attempted second-degree assault.

Investigators said they'll be filing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a short-barreled firearm, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and  possession of methamphetamine. Skeels is currently being held without bail on the parole violation, as well as two counts of attempting to elude by vehicle, one count of attempting to elude by foot, three counts of recklessly endangering and one count of first-degree criminal mischief.

Sheriff's detectives are asking anybody with information about Skeels — who has lived in the county for only a few months — or criminal activity involving the car, which he purchased in May, to contact the Criminal Investigations Division by phone at 541-774-8333 or by email at cid@jacksoncounty.org.

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

Kevin S. Skeels