Teenager crashes into Metolius shop
The pursuit of a speeding teenage driver ended in a fiery crash into a building on Sunday evening, in Metolius, according to a report from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Jason Pollock was on Highway 361, responding to a call in Culver around 6 p.m., when a vehicle headed north on the highway nearly collided with him more than a mile north of Culver. Pollock immediately turned around and headed north, to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle, a 2003 Nissan Maxima, which fled at a high rate of speed.
Near the intersection of Highway 361 and Jefferson Avenue, the driver lost control of his vehicle, left the highway, flipped and crashed into a vacant building, noted Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn, of the JCSO.
Pollock rescued the driver and pulled him away from the vehicle before it burst into flames. The driver, Kendall Florez, 18, who was believed to have suffered a broken arm, was transported to the hospital by Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services. Pollock was not injured.
"It is believed that alcohol is a contributing factor in the crash," said Heckathorn.
The Jefferson County Fire District responded to the report of a structure fire at 701 Jefferson Avenue at 6:13 p.m. Exhaust from the vehicle was the probable ignition point for the fire, reported Capt. Kasey Skaar, of the JCFD.
"The first engine was assigned to fire attack, second engine was to establish a water source and third arriving unit was assigned to roof operations," he said, adding that the four staff members and 11 volunteers who responded quickly knocked the fire down, and completed salvage and overhaul.
"Most of the damage was caused by the vehicle," said Skaar, praising the quick response of the volunteers for stopping the spread of the fire.
The empty building, owned by Mike and Sharon Jewett, of Florence, had previously housed a restaurant and an upholstery shop. The building, valued at $8,940, was considered a total loss.
Heckathorn said that the driver would be charged with attempting to elude, driving while suspended, driving under the influence of intoxicants, first-degree criminal mischief and reckless driving.