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Sheriff's office now requires deputies to have reasonable suspicion of felony before engaging in vehicle pursuit

COURTESY - Two Clackamas County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles are shown here.Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg has adopted a new policy limiting when deputies should pursue suspect vehicles, following a recent high-speed chase of an alleged shoplifter that ended in a fatal crash.

Angela BrandenburgDays after the Sept. 16 incident, Brandenburg sent a memo to staff through Chief Deputy Jesse Ashby directing deputies to pursue vehicles only when there is reasonable suspicion a felony has been committed, or when the suspect's driving is deemed dangerous enough to threaten other drivers or pedestrians.

Reached for comment by Pamplin Media Group on Friday, CCSO employees were not immediately available to provide further details.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, CCSO and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Oregon City resident Anthony Michael Lucero, 27, on manslaughter and hit-and-run charges for crashing into the car of Milwaukie resident Kris Lee Nickelson, 54, resulting in his death.

Lucero allegedly committed the hit-and-run after fleeing an earlier theft from Clackamas Town Center's Ross Dress for Less location shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Responded to a report of the theft, sheriff's deputies arrived in the area and attempted to stop the suspect vehicle, but Lucero allegedly had already fled the scene.

Lucero has been indicted on previous charges of reckless driving and attempts to elude police in March, according to court records that showed he had to forfeit $3,000 in bail money due to his failure to attend court dates.

During his attempted escape from Clackamas Town Center, Lucero allegedly failed to obey a traffic control device and struck a vehicle in the intersection of Bell Avenue and Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard. CCSO Deputy John Wildhaber said Lucero then exited the suspect vehicle and ran from the scene of the alleged hit-and-run, further eluding authorities.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies and Clackamas Fire paramedics treated the driver of the vehicle struck by Lucero who was identified as Nickelson. The victim was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he later died.

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