Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Speed was the contributing factor in the rollover of this Dodge Ram pickup that occurred on Cook-Underwood Road in Skamania County at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. The driver of the vehicle, John Faries, 46, of Ontario, was lodged in Skamania County Jail on charges of attempting to elude a police vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.
A 46-year-old Ontario man is in jail after leading law enforcement on a high-speed police chase through three counties in the Columbia River Gorge that ended when the suspect rolled his vehicle on a curvy road in Skamania County early Friday evening.
John Robert Faries was arrested by the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office on charges of felony attempting to elude a police vehicle as well as for possession of methamphetamine at the conclusion of a police chase that began in Multnomah County Friday afternoon.
Sheriff Dave Brown of the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said the pursuit began near Troutdale at milepost 18 on Interstate 84 late Friday afternoon. Reports came over the scanner at approximately 4:30 p.m. of a black Dodge pickup driving at speeds over 100 mph down the interstate while the driver allegedly tossed “drugs and weapons” out of the speeding vehicle while multiple Multnomah County Sheriff’s units pursued.
As the chase continued through Multnomah County, multiple law enforcement agencies in Hood River County positioned themselves at freeway exits in the Hood River area with the anticipation that the suspect would continue east. However, the suspect crossed the Columbia River at the Bridge of the Gods and Hood River County Sheriff Matt English said it was his understanding that MCSO had terminated the pursuit near the Multnomah-Hood River County line, which lies just a couple miles west of the bridge.
Brown said a marked SCSO unit spotted the suspect’s vehicle driving east on Washington State Route 14 near the north end of the Bridge of the Gods and picked up the pursuit on the winding, two-lane road. The chase continued right through Stevenson on First Street — where the speed limit is 25 mph — and although Brown did not have information on how fast the suspect went through the city, he said the suspect was doing 90 mph by the time he hit the 55 mph zone located on the east end of town.
Speeds ranged between 70 mph and 100 mph on SR 14, according to Brown, as the suspect neared the White Salmon River. On the other side of the Columbia, Oregon State Police, HRCSO, Hood River Police Department, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife set up near the Hood River Bridge with spike strips ready to throw in case the suspect decided to cross back into Oregon.
However, the chase never crossed back into Oregon. The suspect turned onto Cook-Underwood Road along the west bank of the White Salmon River, drove north into Willard, then followed the road as it wound south back to SR 14.
With just over a mile to go before hitting SR 14, the suspect rounded an extremely sharp curve on Cook-Underwood road that lies just northwest of the Little White Salmon Fish Hatchery and lost control of the vehicle. Brown said deputies were close enough to see the pickup truck flip and land upside down on its roof. Once law enforcement reached the vehicle, Brown said both the driver and his three passengers were “very compliant” and did not resist detainment.
Faries was transported to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash., with what Brown said were believed to be neck and back injuries. His three passengers, Sheryl Dinicola, 51, of Ontario, Jeffery Lawson, 32, of Astoria, and Cheyanne Tyler, 24, of Ontario, were all released from the scene.
Brown said Monday that the incident is still under investigation, but noted that officers have reason to believe the Dodge Ram pickup Faries was driving may have been stolen out of Idaho.
Amber Marra of the White Salmon Enterprise contributed to this story.