Multi-agency, 100+ mph pursuit of Mt. Shasta burglary suspects ends with crash of stolen vehicle in Yreka

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif., — Authorities say a dangerous high-speed pursuit of a stolen vehicle seen fleeing from a Mt. Shasta vehicle burglary ended when the fleeing suspects crashed in Yreka early this morning, Monday, Jan. 3.

Two men were arrested after the county-wide chase and more than $1,000 in stolen property was later returned to the victim of the burglary that led to the pursuit and arrests.


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City of Mt. Shasta police officers were alerted to the overnight vehicle burglary after a local resident reported that more than $1,000 dollars in personal belongings were stolen out of his vehicle, Mt. Shasta Police Department has since said of the incident and subsequent arrests.

Although the victim did not know the suspects, he was able to provide officers with a description of their vehicle as they fled the scene.

Responding to the reported burglary, a Mt. Shasta PD officer spotted the fleeing vehicle traveling on Mt. Shasta Boulevard with no license plates and its headlights turned off and attempted to stop the vehicle.

Ignoring the officer’s lights and siren, the driver refused to yield and attempted to speed away from the officer, who initiated a vehicle pursuit.

Notified of the pursuit, several area law enforcement agencies, including CHP – Yreka and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office began converging on the area to assist in the chase.

Although the pursuit initially traveled south on Highway 89 toward McCloud, the fleeing suspects eventually turned around and headed back toward Mt. Shasta at speeds in excess of 100 mph according to MSPD; who said, “Due to winter conditions, the officer elected to back off and trail at a slower speed, but eventually lost sight of the suspect as they entered the I-5 interchange.”

Although the initial officer in the pursuit lost sight of the fleeing suspects, a responding Mt. Shasta PD K-9 handler and his furry companion who were headed toward the chase from the Weed area spotted the fleeing suspects traveling northbound on Highway 97 toward A12 and reinitiated the pursuit.

With clearer weather conditions and no other vehicular traffic on the roadway, the chase was allowed to continue into the Yreka area, according to MSPD; who reported, “Once in Yreka, the suspect made several dangerous decisions, including attempts to run officers off the road.”

As the dangerous pursuit continued, the suspect eventually attempted to drive his stolen vehicle up a steep embankment onto I-5, near the end of Raymond Street, where his vehicle became stuck after crashing through a fence.

“Officers were able to order the occupants out of the vehicle at gunpoint … with the assistance of our K-9 Artie’s voice as added deterrence,” Department officials explained.

“Once in custody, a search of the vehicle was conducted …and… all reported stolen property was recovered, including the vehicle itself,” officials continued; adding that the vehicle had been reported as stolen from the Oregon area the day before.

Based on their investigation, officers arrested the driver, 24-year-old Austin Eugene Hampton, and passenger, 20-year-old Blake Jeffery Gehrig. Both suspect’s social media accounts indicate they are residents of Portland, Oregon.

The two men were later transported to the Siskiyou County Jail, where Hampton was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading a peace officer with wanton disregard for public safety, two counts of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, and grand theft. Gehrig was booked on suspicion of grand theft.

Online jail records indicate both men remain in custody, with Hampton being held in lieu of $25,000 bail or bond and Gehrig’s bail set at $15,000.

Sarah Shelton Green, who lives on the street where the pursuit came to a crashing end and later shared video of the mens’ arrests to social media, told SCNS today that she was asleep when the pursuit screamed into her normally quiet neighborhood.

When she awoke to the sounds of sirens following the pursuit-ending crash, Green said she saw the suspects’ arrests unfold just outside her home.

“I could see the lights flashing in my living room into the bedroom and when I went and looked, I could see that officers were instructing the passenger to exit the vehicle,” she explained. “They had him crawl back under the fence from the freeway side to the street side and detained him without incident.”

“They did the same with the driver without incident, and then the CHP on the freeway side ensured there were no other passengers,” she continued; adding, “It all seemed to go very smoothly.”

Green went on to say that when she checked the fence that the suspects’ stolen vehicle had crashed through earlier that morning it had already been repaired.

Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact the Mt. Shasta Police Department at (530) 926-7540. Callers can refer to incident file 2201M-0044 can remain anonymous.

As a reminder to the community, thieves often target vehicles that are easy to steal from and/or gain access to. To help avoid becoming a property crime victim, Mt. Shasta PD strongly urges the community follow these tips.
• Lock your vehicle doors
• Do not leave windows cracked or open
• Do not leave keys in the vehicle
• Do not leave your vehicle running, even when it’s “just for a second.”
• Do your best not to store valuables inside your vehicle. If you must, put them in a trunk, or at minimum, out of view from the windows.
• Install and/or maintain vehicle alarm systems
• Report suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.