A pickup truck stands empty on East Idaho Avenue in Ontario after a police pursuit that reportedly started Thursday evening in Idaho. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)
UPDATE: This story has been updated at 8 p.m. with new information from the scene.
ONTARIO – A police pursuit that started in Nampa just before rush hour Thursday ended in Ontario with a shooting that sent the driver to the hospital, according to Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe.
The pursuit ended on East Idaho Avenue just west of the railroad overpass in downtown Ontario.
The man driving the Dodge SLT pickup with Idaho license plates stepped out of the vehicle at that point and shots were fired. The driver, whose identity was not immediately available, was taken to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario for treatment. His condition wasn’t immediately available. No one else was in the truck, police said.
As of 7:30 p.m. Thursday, East Idaho Avenue was still closed as police continued their investigation. The road is the main east-west access to Ontario from Interstate 84.
According to Wolfe, a motorist called police at 4:05 p.m. to report an erratic driver on Interstate 84 traveling at high speeds. Six minutes later, the Idaho State Police attempted to stop the east-bound vehicle near Nampa. At some point, the pursued pickup truck started heading west on Interstate 84 under circumstances not clear Thursday night.
Idaho troopers broke off their pursuit because of rush hour traffic, but the vehicle was subsequently spotted by deputies from the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office. As other Idaho law enforcement joined the chase, Oregon police deployed a spike strip at the Oregon-Idaho border to stop the vehicle.
Wolfe said the pickup continued on to Ontario, pursued now by the Oregon State Police and the Ontario Police Department and exiting at the main Ontario exit.
Suzy Bennett of Ontario said she was returning from Idaho with her mother when she was forced to pull off Idaho Avenue at the Far East restaurant.
“I see the yellow truck going by and all the tires are puncture and so he’s going maybe 20 mph,” she said in a message to the Enterprise. “I watch him drive through the light and was forced to stop right before going under the bridge.”
The driver stopped on East Idaho Avenue, stepped out of the pickup and began yelling at police, Wolfe said. He said shots were then fired. He had no immediate information on whether the driver was armed or how many shots were fired.
This story will be updated.
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