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Man on run sees spikes, rams car

by: contributed photo, Viliami Edwin Fuka

CORBETT - A police pursuit that started Saturday morning in Portland ended near Corbett with a crash that totaled a Gresham police car.

The suspect, Portland resident Viliami Edwin Fuka, 24, was taken to Adventist Medical Center in Portland with minor injuries. No one else was injured as the police car was unoccupied.

Officers arrested Fuka at 10:10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, a little more than 20 minutes after Portland Police began pursuing him, said Lt. Jason Gates, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Fuka is being held at the Justice Center Jail on one count each of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempt to elude, attempt to elude on foot and reckless driving, two counts of first-degree attempted assault and three counts of reckless endangering. In addition, Fuka is being held on a warrant for second-degree criminal trespassing. His bail is set at $25,000.

The incident started at 9:49 a.m. Saturday when police dispatch announced that Portland police were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle - a 2000 Freightliner box truck belonging to the Sunshine Division - near the intersection of Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast Glisan Street.

Officers from various jurisdictions attempted to set up spike strips, but Fuka, who was headed east at 60 miles per hour, kept going, Gates said.

Portland police ended the pursuit near the intersection of Northeast 162nd Avenue and Glisan Street as they approached Gresham's city limits.

At the time, Fuka was driving increasingly recklessly and heading into oncoming traffic, Gates said.

Meanwhile, a deputy with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office set up spike strips along the eastbound lanes at the intersection of Northeast 223rd Avenue and Glisan, but Fuka saw what was coming and swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid them and continued heading east, Gates said.

No one was in pursuit of him at the time, but anticipating that Fuka would try to get on the freeway, several officers headed to Interstate 84, and pulled in behind him.

Meanwhile, two officers from Gresham and Troutdale set up a spike strip across all lanes of traffic at milepost 21, near the Corbett Hill Road exit. The officers got out of the way but left their vehicles on the road.

Rather than drive over the spike strips, Fuka rammed into the tail end of the Gresham police car, crushing it into the front seat, Gates said.

Fuka then lost control of the truck he was driving, crashed into the center divider and took off on foot. At one point, he even attempted to get into an occupied vehicle whose driver had likely slowed down to look at the wreck, Gates said.

Following on foot, officers finally caught up with Fuka and took him into custody without further incident at 10:10 a.m.