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K-9 leads cops to a collar

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Police needed help of the four-legged, sharp-nosed variety in tracking down a car theft suspect who allegedly rammed an officer’s car during the pursuit and later abandoned the stolen vehicle.

A police K-9 tracked 19-year-old Ruben Rivera Rodriguez to the 6700 block of Griffin Creek Lane Wednesday night following a chase through Phoenix, according to a news release.

Rodriguez was taken to a hospital to be treated for dog bites before he was lodged in the Jackson County Jail. He remained in the jail Thursday on $57,500 bail, records show. He was arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court on four felony charges: unauthorized use of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts of attempting to elude a police officer.

The chase began at about 4 p.m. near the intersection of Hilsinger Road and Pacific Lane, where a Phoenix police officer spotted a Honda Accord that had been reported stolen. The officer turned on his lights and attempted to stop the vehicle, but the car pulled away. The chase proceeded north on Hilsinger Road to West First Street, where they turned east and traveled to South Main Street, where Rodriguez allegedly struck a second police vehicle, said Phoenix police Chief Derek Bowker.

Rodriguez led the pursuing police officer through several other Phoenix streets and eventually left the city limits via Camp Baker Road. By then, several Jackson County sheriff’s deputies and a Talent police officer had joined in the pursuit, which continued westbound from Phoenix to Jacksonville.

Rodriguez allegedly bailed from the vehicle in the 7000 block of Griffin Lane. The pursuing officers set up a perimeter. By 4:40 p.m., a K-9 unit had arrived to help police track the suspect. The dog found him in the 6700 block of Griffin Lane at 5:55 p.m.

Rodriguez has no prior criminal history in Oregon, records show.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

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