Wrong way backhoe driver eludes cops in Clackamas County

Crime

Mitchell Ray Johnston was arrested around midnight on Sunday after driving a stolen backhoe on the wrong side of the road near I-205 and Highway 213, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A man was arrested around midnight on Sunday after driving a stolen backhoe on the wrong side of the road near I-205 and Highway 213, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities identified the suspect as 39 year old Mitchell Ray Johnston of Aloha, who drove the backhoe almost 30 miles before being stopped by police.

An officer tried to pull over Johnston after spotting him driving on the wrong side of the road, however Johnston disappeared from the officer’s sight after taking the on-ramp from Highway 213.

Around 12:40 a.m., a resident saw the backhoe near Holly Lane and Redland Road and reported it to authorities.

A Clackamas County deputy saw the backhoe on South Fischers Mill Road around 1:00 a.m. driving on the wrong side of the road at an estimated 10-20 mph. After calling for backup, authorities pulled over the backhoe near Hattan Road.

Johnston initially told officers he was “lost,” but later said he stole the backhoe from a lot on 141st and Tualatin Valley Highway in Beaverton.

The backhoe has been returned to its owners, authorities said.

Johnston’s driver’s license was revoked, and he was arrested on charges including unauthorized use of a vehicle and driving while suspended. Johnston’s bail was set at $50,000.

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