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Ridgefield police respond to carjacking; deputies chase driver into Oregon

Multiple law enforcement agencies say they have reason to charge a 35-year-old Kelso man for an attempted carjacking and subsequent highway chase that led Cowlitz sheriff’s deputies into Oregon.

On Sunday, Ridgefield police responded to a report of a man trying to steal an occupied vehicle, according to a news release from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim told police the man placed him in a headlock and stole his keys, the sheriff’s office said. Once on scene, Ridgefield officers tried to arrest the carjacker, who ran away on foot before fleeing in a Ford truck that had been reported stolen out of St. Helens, Ore.

A Cowlitz sheriff’s deputy spotted the truck heading north on Interstate 5 near exit 27, to Todd Road and the Port of Kalama, and tried to stop it, the sheriff’s office said. The truck accelerated to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour and used all three lanes of the freeway to evade pursuing deputies.

The driver “was able to avoid spike strips and intentionally swerved at a deputy who was outside of his vehicle attempting to deploy the spike strips,” the sheriff’s office said.

The chase continued north until the driver took exit 39 in Kelso and crashed into a car stopped for a red light. The car’s occupant was not injured, deputies said. Despite the wreck, the driver continued to evade deputies and crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon.

While heading west on Oregon Highway 30, the driver forced cars traveling in the opposite direction out of their lanes. He made it into Clatskanie, Ore. where he crashed into a Cowlitz deputy’s vehicle and was pinned in by multiple law enforcement vehicles.

He “attempted to flee the vehicle and resisted arrest. Deputies deployed a taser and (canine) to take the suspect into custody,” the sheriff’s office said.

A deputy was cut by broken glass during the struggle and required stitches. The sheriff’s office did not say whether driver, identified as Gergorio Ivan Layna, of Kelso, was injured.

Layna was taken into custody by Oregon State Police on charges related to the pursuit in Oregon. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said it will be filing additional charges of attempting to elude, possession of a stolen vehicle, second-degree assault, hit-and-run and resisting arrest. And Ridgefield Police have probable cause for additional charges for the attempted carjacking.


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