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Deputies: Suspect's 'path of destruction' destroys cars, injures officers


A report of a possible deer poacher led to a dangerous chase through the streets of Sweet Home that destroyed three patrol cars and injured three officers.

It all started just before 9 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies were called to the area of 25700 Old Holley Rd. in Sweet Home to reports of a man in a pickup spotlighting deer.

The caller said he warned the man not to shoot the deer, but the suspect allegedly asked the caller if he should shoot him instead.

The first deputy on scene recognized the suspect as Joseph Williams, 34, a Sweet Home transient. The deputy asked Williams to remove the large hunting knife from his waistband, which he did, but the deputy said the man then tried to pick it back up and began yelling and cursing.

Williams then got into his pickup and sped away, according to deputies. The man's driver's license is suspended and he had a warrant for his arrest.

The deputy pursued Williams and got him to stop, but investigators said Williams then rapidly accelerated his pickup in reverse toward the patrol car, nearly hitting it before taking off again.

Three Sweet Home police officers and two additional Linn County deputies got involved. The chase raced through a residential area until deputies said Williams stopped his car in the middle of Third Street, threw his truck into reverse and smashed into a Sweet Home patrol car.

The patrol car was totaled and the officer suffered a sprained wrist.

The same situation then happened to another patrol car. The second car is also a total loss and the office suffered minor injuries.

Deputies said Williams pushed the second patrol car several hundred feet backward, causing it to collide with a sheriff's office vehicle.

The third car suffered moderate damage and the deputy driving it was not hurt.

Investigators said Williams kept on going and tried to back into another Sweet Home police car, but instead destroyed the back of a parked Honda Civic.

The chase continued on Elm Street, where deputies said Williams sideswiped yet another patrol car, caving in the driver's side door. The officer suffered cuts to his face from the broken window. The patrol car is another total loss.

Deputies said that crash, however, broke the steering mechanism in the suspect's truck, causing it to crash into a retaining wall.

Williams was finally arrested after deputies said he attempted to run away. He was not hurt and is facing charges including assaulting a police officer, attempting to elude police and reckless driving.

Additional charges are expected in this case.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Cars were destroyed and officers injured during a dangerous chase through Sweet Home. >> See photos More>>

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