Suspects, believed linked to Florida gang, in Columbia County Jail

WalkerThomasThe Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, along with other Oregon police, arrested two men after a high-speed chase and manhunt through Columbia County on Saturday, Jan. 18.

The suspects are believed to be connected to the “Felony Lane Gang” of the Southeast United States and likely traveled across the country in a stolen vehicle from Florida, Sheriff’s Office deputies said.

The suspects were detained separately after allegedly crashing the vehicle into an embankment on Apiary Road and trying to flee.

Marcus Emmanuel Thomas, 27, of Florida, attempted to flee the scene of the crash but was arrested by Oregon State Police and transported to a hospital for a broken neck. Jonathan Walker, 23, of Florida (also known as Dwayne Dixon), was identified Sunday by an off-duty Columbia County reserve deputy in Rainier and later arrested, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.

Both were booked in the Columbia County Jail, but Thomas was later released from custody to receive medical treatment from the crash, said Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Both men face charges based on allegations of attempting to elude in a vehicle, attempting to elude on foot, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, reckless endangering and numerous thefts.

The chase started just before 4 p.m. Saturday when a citizen called 911 to report a reckless driver traveling north on Highway 30 in a Toyota Highlander. A deputy on patrol pursued the suspects, but Walker — driving the allegedly stolen Highlander — refused to stop, according to the press release.

St. Helens Police Department officers used a spike strip in an attempt to force the vehicle to a halt before it entered the more populated area of St. Helens, but Walker swerved to miss the device, according to the release.

Officers and deputies terminated the pursuit once the suspects reached the city due to public safety concerns. The suspects continued to drive through St. Helens at speeds of about 100 mph, the press release stated.

A Columbia City police officer later spotted the Highlander traveling west on Pittsburg Road at a high rate of speed. Walker then allegedly drove out of sight and the suspects began throwing items from the car. Sheriff’s deputies collected all the items thrown out by the suspects and are investigating whether they are attached to any recent crimes, Dickerson said.

Later, a Rainier police officer saw the Highlander traveling — still at an estimated 100 mph — north on Apiary Road. According to the press release, Walker then crashed into an embankment about half a mile south of Simmons Road on Apiary Road and both suspects attempted to flee from the wreck on foot.

An state trooper was able to detain the passenger, Thomas, who was transported by ambulance to a Portland area hospital for a broken neck after being booked in the Columbia County jail.

Deputies and officers then worked to establish a perimeter around the crash to find Walker. Meanwhile, a local resident spotted Walker approaching his home. The release states the homeowner fired a warning shot into the air and that Walker ran from the property.

Law enforcement officials searched the area for four hours Saturday without locating the suspect, the press release states.

Walker — arrested Sunday after being identified by the off-duty reserve deputy — was booked in the Columbia County Jail. He has a Florida arrest record of domestic assault, battery, burglary, missile into dwelling vehicle building or aircraft, disturbing the peace, larceny, theft, robbery, strong arm robbery, marijuana possession, loitering and prowling.

Thomas has prior weapon convictions out of Florida.

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