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Knife attack at Lithia dealership sends man to prison

A Medford man will serve three years in prison after pleading guilty to a string of crimes that included attacking employees at a Lithia dealership with a knife earlier this year.

Among the acts Casey Ray Tumey admitted to Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court was a Feb. 17 incident in which he slashed at employees with a small knife at the Lithia Chrysler Superstore after a confrontation with the owner of a car Tumey had stolen. 

According to police, the owner of a stolen 1993 Honda Accord spotted his vehicle in the Walmart parking lot off Highway 62. The vehicle had been reported stolen about half an hour earlier by Joel Dunn, with whom Tumey had been staying. Dunn tracked down his car using police scanner traffic, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz, who prosecuted the case.

Tumey ran from Dunn and into the Lithia Chrysler Superstore along Highway 62, where he threatened two employees with a knife, cutting one man's jacket, before being apprehended.

Tumey pleaded guilty to felony charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, unlawful use of a weapon and attempted second-degree assault, as well as some felony property crimes unrelated to the stolen-car case. Markiewicz said that if Tumey hadn't attacked a person with a weapon, he likely could have avoided prison through the county's drug court program.

"But for this case, he really was a prime candidate for drug court," Markiewicz said.

Circuit Court Judge Kelly Ravassipour said she would authorize alternative incarceration programs through the Oregon Department of Corrections to address Tumey's addiction problems.

At the hearing, Tumey pleaded guilty to a felony charge of identity theft for stealing a check from a man who let Tumey stay with him, as well as cash from another person. He also pleaded guilty to stealing a smartphone in December and selling it at a used-phone vending machine.

Tumey smirked through much of the hearing, and Ravassipour called him on it.

"It could be nerves," court-appointed attorney Alyssa Bartholomew said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at nmorgan@mailtribune.com or follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.