PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Longview man is facing attempted murder charges after leading police on a chase along Highway 30 and ramming an Oregon State Police patrol car, critically injuring Trooper John Jeffries, police said.
The crash occurred Nov. 11 west of St. Helens. Police identified the suspect for the first time Thursday as 53-year-old John Thralls.
Authorities said the string of events started when police responded to a report of domestic assault and robbery in Cowlitz County. Local law enforcement said by the time they got there, Thralls had already fled the scene.
Rainier police later spotted Thralls’ car in the city and followed him southbound along Hwy 30. OSP troopers joined RPD and tried to pull Thralls over after seeing him illegally pass another car, police said.
Thralls then took off driving recklessly and officers called off the pursuit for safety reasons, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the agency leading the investigation.
However, police continued to follow Thralls at a distance.
Troopers eventually deflated one of Thralls’ tires with spike strips, and officers set up more traps ahead of Thralls in an effort to completely stop the car.
Despite the flat tire, Thralls kept driving wildly, nearly hitting other drivers, pulling a U-turn north and then running a trooper off the road, police said.
Two more troopers were setting up spike strips down the highway when Thralls headed toward their parked patrol car, CCSO said, and he rammed them as one trooper jumped out of the way. The other trooper, John Jeffries, was critically injured in the crash.
Police arrested Thralls at the scene and said he was injured in the crash. He was taken to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital and transferred to the Columbia County Jail Wednesday on multiple charges.
Jeffries was taken to the hospital in critical condition. It’s unclear whether he has been released from intensive medical care.
Before beginning with OSP in March, Jeffries retired from the FBI after serving for 20 years. He had been stationed at the St. Helens OSP site.
Thralls faces three charges of attempted murder, one charge of first-degree assault and one charge of attempting to elude police officers in a vehicle.