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Man arrested after stolen car chase

A Klamath Falls man faces a string of charges following a car chase turned foot pursuit through Phoenix and Talent Thursday morning that briefly put an area elementary school on lockdown.

Jeffry Michael Vinson, 26, was arrested on felony vehicle theft and elude charges following a police chase and manhunt that ended before noon when a Jackson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 found Vinson near the Ashland-Talent border on the Bear Creek Greenway, according to a press release from Phoenix police.

At about 10 a.m. just north of Phoenix city limits on South Pacific Highway, a Phoenix police officer and a sheriff’s deputy say they attempted a traffic stop on Vinson while he was driving a vehicle reported stolen out of Medford.

The vehicle attempted to elude police through several residential streets, according to Phoenix police.

Phoenix Elementary School briefly went on “lock-out” while the chase was in close proximity.

Sheriff’s deputies and Phoenix police caught up with the vehicle after it turned onto southbound South Pacific Highway south of Talent.

Police spiked the vehicle’s tires near Rapp Road, causing the vehicle to lose control, leave the roadway on the Greenway near Wrangler Arena just outside Talent city limits.

Vinson and a passenger, identified as 21-year-old Kathryn Beth Dunay of Medford, fled on foot into brush along the bike path.

Police secured a perimeter and quickly apprehended Dunay, but as of Thursday afternoon, she hadn’t been charged with a crime.

Finding Vinson took the efforts of Oregon State Police, the sheriff’s office and Phoenix, Talent and Ashland police searching the Greenway, according to the release. A sheriff’s office K-9 unit found Vinson at 11:54 a.m.

Police arrested Vinson on felony charges of attempting to elude police in a vehicle and possessing a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person, attempting to elude police on foot and criminal mischief.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Vinson and Dunay have a vehicle theft case pending stemming from a Phoenix police arrest earlier this month. At about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 2, Phoenix police allegedly found Vinson and Dunay near the Phoenix Jack in the Box with a car reported stolen out of Klamath County. Vinson was booked into the jail Dec. 2 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was released on his own recognizance Dec. 6, records show.

Dunay is set to make her initial court appearance on the Dec. 2 case the first week of January.

Vinson also has a warrant for failing to appear in court on charges of delivering and possessing heroin, possessing methamphetamine, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and felon in possession of a firearm following a reported domestic dispute between Vinson and Dunay at a hotel in Ashland.

On July 24, Ashland police say they found Vinson unconscious with a pistol lying near him in the area of Sutton Place and Ashland Street. After Vinson told police he attempted suicide by swallowing three baggies of heroin, he was rushed to Rogue Regional Medical Center.

Klamath County records show multiple warrants for Vinson for failing to appear in court on previous charges that include attempting to elude police in a vehicle, unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree theft.

Vinson was being held Thursday in the Jackson County Jail on $62,500 bail.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Jeffry Michael Vinson is charged with possessing a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude police after engaging Phoenix officers in a chase between Medford and Ashland. Jackson County Jail booking photo.