A driver from Gresham and passenger from Bend were arrested late Tuesday night after a false report of a kidnapping led to a police chase, spike-strip deployment and guns-drawn traffic stop in the Sandy area, Oregon State Police said.
Around 10:25 p.m., OSP troopers were advised to be on the lookout for a 2013 VW Jetta with Washington license plates, heading west on Highway 26 from Government Camp, said Lt. Gregg Hastings. The car was reported to be driven by an armed man who allegedly kidnapped a woman after threats to harm her, he added.
Troopers, a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy and Sandy police officer set up along Highway 26, monitoring westbound traffic.
Around 11:30 p.m., troopers spotted the car heading west at the east end of Sandy and attempted a “high-risk” (guns drawn) traffic stop near Bluff Road. Hastings said the driver stopped for a moment, but then sped off Highway 26, into a residential area.
The pursuit lasted several minutes, and at one point, a Clackamas County deputy deployed spike strips, successfully hitting a rear tire of the Jetta.
The driver, later identified as Matthew John Lienhard, 37, of Gresham, kept going and drove into a dead-end road on Loundree Drive, where it stopped and officers conducted a high-risk stop at gunpoint, Hastings said.
Lienhard and passenger Sarah Euleta Short, 28, of Bend, were detained without further incident.
Authorities determined the kidnapping report made by unidentified “persons who know” Short was unfounded, Hastings said, adding that OSP was conducting a follow-up investigation.
A search of the car turned up two handguns, one with an altered serial number, the lieutenant said.
Lienhard was lodged in the Clackamas County Jail on charges of felony attempt to elude in a vehicle, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person. He also was cited for driving with a suspended license and two other traffic violations.
Short was jailed on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and one count of obliteration or change of ID number on a firearm.