Passenger in stable condition after police chase ends in Gales Creek

Firefighters attempt to rescue a passenger from a car that crashed into Gales Creek after a pursuit on Highway 6 on Feb. 15, 2019. KATU photo

GALES CREEK, Ore. – A passenger who was critically injured when a driver crashed into Gales Creek while trying to evade law enforcement on Friday morning is now listed in stable condition, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

The incident started about 8:15 a.m. when an officer with North Plains Police saw a driver speeding recklessly along Highway 26 westbound near the Glencoe Road exit.

The officer tried to pull over the driver, later identified as Jeremiah Libbee, 23, of Hillsboro, but he ended up speeding off.

The chase continued up the highway and onto Highway 6 westbound toward Tillamook.

Washington County deputies put out spike strips near Gales Creek Road, however, Libbee had lost control of his vehicle while approaching the spikes. He drove over them as deputies were trying to get them out of the way.

Libbee ended up crashing down a steep embankment and his car hit a tree before landing in Gales Creek.

Libbee was washed hundred of yards downstream before emergency responders could pull him out of the water.

A21-year-old Gaston woman was still trapped in the front seat, pinned inside by the damage from the crash. Emergency crews used a boat to hook tow cables to the car, and it took more than a half hour to get the woman to the riverbank.

She was taken to a Portland-area hospital with critical injuries. On Monday, officials said she is listed in stable condition.

Libbee has since been released from the hospital. No official word on whether he has been charged in the incident, or what charges he could face.

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