The driver of a commercial truck was stopped at Wolf Creek in southern Oregon having dinner Thursday night. When he left the restaurant, a man armed with a knife hijacked his truck.
36-year-old Travis Blondell fled north on I-5. An Oregon State Police trooper saw the truck and trailer northbound in the Myrtle Creek area. The trooper attempted to stop the truck but the driver failed to yield and continued northbound. Troopers and assisting local officers learned the driver was Travis Blondell, 36, from Wolf Creek, who a week earlier was arrested for assaulting a police officer and is known to be violent.
Officers from Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Roseburg Police Department deployed spike strips south of Roseburg, successfully deflating some tires. As the truck continued northbound, the tire tread shredded off and some of the wheels were down to bare rims. The suspect was reportedly throwing items out of the moving truck, displaying obscene hand gestures at police, and damaged some ODOT property while speeds slowed to below 10 mph.
Five miles north of Roseburg the truck and trailer went into the center median where it got stuck. The driver refused to comply with police orders to exit the truck so a Roseburg police canine was sent into the truck at which point Blondell came outside and was taken into custody. Officers immediately rendered aid for dog bites on his arms before he was transported to Mercy Medical Center where he was treated and released.
Blondell was lodged in the Douglas County Jail for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Felony Attempt to Elude in a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, and misdemeanor Fail to Perform Duties of a Driver in an Accident. OSP will be submitting reports to the Josephine County District Attorney's Office for Robbery in the First Degree. Additional charges may be pending.
The victim commercial truck driver, a 31-year old California man, was transported by an OSP trooper from Wolf Creek to the scene to retrieve his personal effects from the truck. He was then taken to a nearby hotel and his trucking company was contacted to make arrangements to help their driver and to recover the truck and trailer.