Man steals Salem police car, leads officers on chase Monday afternoon

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A Lincoln City man faces charges that he assaulted a Salem police officer, stole his patrol car and led police on a chase Monday afternoon.

Police say 35-year-old David Miles stole the patrol car after police Tasered and pepper sprayed him. Officer Benjamin Ruddell wrote in an affidavit that officers pursued Miles along Northwest Wallace Road Northwest before eventually arresting him in a farm field.

On Tuesday, prosecutors charged Miles in Polk County Circuit Court with attempted assaulting a public safety officer, second-degree escape, resisting arrest, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, reckless driving, first-degree criminal mischief and two counts of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

Ruddell wrote in his affidavit that he and Salem officer Megan Rollins responded to the area of Northwest Taggart Drive and Wallace Road after a complaint of a person shoving another “with the caller suspecting the incident was racially motivated.”

Police said they talked with a Black man who appeared homeless who described a white man stopping him and telling him to take everything out of his pockets. “His name was never obtained,” the affidavit said of the man referred to as the victim, describing him as Black and appearing homeless.

Miles, meanwhile, sat across the street on a bicycle watching the conversation when Ruddell waved him over to a convenience store parking lot, the affidavit said. 

When Miles arrived, he was told he wasn’t free to leave to which he responded, “Yes I am,” according to the affidavit. As he started to ride away and Ruddell told him to stop, he replied, “No.” The affidavit said the victim, whose identity wasn’t established, left while Ruddell was engaged with Miles and couldn’t be found.

Ruddell requested more officers and at some point found Miles at the West Salem Post Office at 400 Glen Creek Rd. N.W. Miles refused to stop and became combative, challenging Ruddell to a fight, the affidavit said.

Ruddell wrote that he tried to detain Miles, who started throwing punches at Ruddell in the middle of Glen Creek Road, which was busy with traffic. Miles landed “a single glancing blow” on Ruddell, he wrote. 

According to the affidavit, Rollins deployed her Taser twice with little to no effect on Miles. Ruddell his Taser as well but the probes either missed or had little to no effect. He also used pepper spray, but Miles continued to fight, he wrote.

“At one point, David (Miles) turned and fled on foot but circled back to Officer Ruddell’s patrol car, which had the driver’s door open,” Ruddell wrote. “David got inside and stole Officer Ruddell’s patrol car.”

The car had Ruddell’s patrol rifle and magazines inside, the affidavit said. 

Miles accelerated quickly across Glen Creek and into the back parking lot of Roth’s Fresh Markets at 1130 Wallace Rd. N.W, which was busy with customers both in cars and on foot.

Other Salem officers pursued him as he drove north on Wallace Road, Ruddell wrote, saying he learned from other officers that Miles was driving an estimated 80 miles per hour, driving on the shoulder of the road and at times driving onto private property.

Ruddell said another officer, Andrew McFerron, reported chasing Miles as he eluded police at speeds of up to 95 miles on Wallace Road. According to the affidavit, turned around just south of Northwest Zena Road and drove into an orchard, and returned to Wallace Road, heading south back towards Salem. 

He eventually drove off the road and got the patrol car stuck in a grass field, the affidavit said. He abandoned the car and took off on foot, the affidavit said.

Officers from Salem police, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office set up a perimeter in the area to contain Miles, according to a Facebook post Monday afternoon.

Miles eventually surrendered, police said.

He remained in custody at the Polk County Jail Tuesday afternoon, the jail’s roster showed.

A grand jury in Jackson County also indicted him on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and third-degree theft in December 2021. The charges alleged he stole a 2021 U-Haul van from Eugene in November. 

He was also charged Monday in Marion County Circuit Court with resisting arrest, second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree disorderly conduct. The charges alleged he damaged store merchandise at Bi Mart on Northeast Lancaster Drive and engaged in “violent, tumultuous and threatening behavior” on Saturday.

The cases are pending.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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