REDMOND, OR -- An off-duty Redmond Police Sergeant says he was nearly run off the road by a drunk driver, Tuesday afternoon. After taking evasive action to avoid a crash, the Sergeant attempted to pull the van over on Highway 126, west of Redmond. Two county deputies were already in the area, responding to reports of a van driver that was seen driving recklessly. They, along with an OSP Fish and Wildlife trooper, joined the pursuit, just before 4:30 p.m.
After traveling at speeds no faster than 60 mph, the van eventually came to a stop at SW 27th and Highland, prior to hitting police spike strips. According to police, 64-year-old Scott Leachman, of Sisters, initially followed commands and exited the vehicle. But, they say he became non-compliant and verbally challenged officers. Police put him on the ground and he was taken into custody.
Because he was injured during the arrest and was described as "extremely intoxicated," Redmond medics responded to the scene and transported Leachman to the hospital.
Leachman was the only person in the van at the time. He was later deemed medically stable to be lodged at the jail. He's charged with DUII-Felony (alcohol), Driving While Suspended, Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Interfering with a Peace Officer and Attempted Assault.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Redmond Police Sgt. Curtis Chambers says, "In this incident, choosing to continue the pursuit was deemed appropriate and justified due to speeds traveled and the amount of traffic on the road, in addition to the belief the driver may be impaired and was driving poorly prior to the start of the pursuit. Discontinuing this pursuit would have allowed a suspected impaired driver to continue driving and put everyone at risk."