Yamhill officer remains on paid leave
“I understand the grand jury might meet Wednesday,” Rise said. “If everything goes well, he could return to work as early as Friday.”
Rise continued, “He was interviewed by the state police last Wednesday, and from what I hear, everything went well.”
District Attorney Brad Berry said it will be up to Rise to review VanCleave’s use of force for compliance with department policy. He said the finding would govern whether VanCleave was justified in shooting Mitchell, who was treated at Willamette Valley Medical Center for a superficial wound.
Berry said he would have gotten involved had the shooting resulted in a death or serious physical injury.
Rise said he has not read the reports on the incident, but would base his decision on the grand jury’s findings.
Mitchell, 29, of Carlton, was arraigned April 1 by Circuit Court Judge Ronald Stone on one count each of attempted aggravated murder, attempted first-degree assault and attempt to elude a police officer, all felonies, along with the misdemeanor traffic offenses of hit-and-run, reckless driving and speeding. He was lodged in the county jail without bail.
The grand jury can alter the charges or leave them intact, based on its findings.
Sheridan attorney Elana Flynn was appointed to represent Mitchell, who is next due in court at 1:20 p.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing. His no-bail hold will also be reviewed at that time.
Authorities gave this account of the 7 p.m. incident:
OSP Trooper Phil Richardson was patrolling out of the McMinnville office with a ride-along civilian, an 18-year-old Amity High student, when he clocked a Ford F-150 pickup doing 85 in a 55 mph zone on Highway 47. He pulled over the pickup and issued a citation to the driver, identified as Mitchell, who the trooper termed “visibly angry.”
A short time later, Richardson observed Mitchell make multiple U-turns, then pursued the squad car from behind at a high speed. As they approached Highway 99W, Mitchell crashed into the rear of the patrol vehicle, causing serious damage.
Richardson and the Amity student were taken to the hospital for evaluation, then released.
Following the crash, Richardson activated his emergency lights and siren, called for backup and continued into McMinnville.
Carlton police officer Jacob Herr located Mitchell’s pickup and initiated pursuit. Officers from several other agencies joined as the chase headed west out of Carlton on Meadow Lake Road and continued toward Haskins Creek Road, near the McMinnville Water Treatment Plant.
There, Mitchell pulled into a large graveled area. He attempted to ram sheriff’s deputy Robert Eubanks’ patrol car, then fled east on Meadow Lake.
VanCleave fired at Mitchell at that point.
A McMinnville officer finally brought the pickup to a stop by deploying spike strips. Officers had to tase Mitchell multiple times as they struggled to get him into custody.
VanCleave was previously involved in an officer-involved shooting incident.
In August 2009, he believed now 27-year-old Randy Restorff of Carlton was trying to run him over. He fired several shots, all of which missed the suspect.
Authorities gave this account of the incident:
VanCleave began pursuing a suspected drunk driver, later identified as Restorff. About the same time, a Yamhill Communications Agency dispatcher received a citizen report on a suspected drunk driver in the same area.
VanCleave located the subject west of Carlton near Meadow Lake Road. When he tried to stop him, Restoff took off.
VanCleave pursued the suspect onto Old Soldiers Road, where his vehicle became high-centered in some gravel. VanCleave exited his car and repeatedly ordered the suspect to get out of his vehicle, to no avail.
Then Restorffs threw his car into reverse, broke it free and drove it at VanCleave. The officer fired multiple rounds from his service weapon as he scrambled out of the way.
After ramming VanCleave’s car, Restorff drove off a short distance, jumped out and fled on foot.
Law enforcement agencies from throughout Yamhill County converged on the scene, assisted by a McMinnville Police Department canine team. Restorff was bitten by a police dog in the course of his apprehension.
In the principal case stemming from the incident, Restorff pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence of intoxicants and no contest to one count each of felony attempt to elude, reckless endangering and resisting arrest. By entering a plea of no contest, the defendant does not admit guilt, but concedes the prosecution has enough evidence to secure a conviction.
Restorff also pleaded guilty to one count of DUII in a separate case stemming from the same incident. The two DUII charges accounted for separate acts of driving while intoxicated, one before high-centering his vehicle and one after.
Judge John Collins sentenced Restorff to 180 days in jail and three years probation. He ordered his driver’s license revoked for life and fined him $3,500.