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John Thralls also was convicted of fleeing police in a 2019 incident in Columbia County, court records show.

KOIN 6 NEWS - OSP Trooper John Jeffries was hospitalized on Nov. 11 after a driver fleeing police struck an OSP patrol car, which then struck Jeffries.A 53-year-old Longview, Washington, man has been charged in the Nov. 11 crash near St. Helens that left Oregon State Police Trooper John Jeffries hospitalized.

John Sanford Thralls faces three counts of attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, and one count of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, all of which are felonies.

Thralls was booked into the Columbia County Jail on Wednesday, Nov. 17, after being hospitalized for nearly a week following the crash.

Thralls was allegedly fleeing police following an alleged domestic dispute and robbery in Longview on U.S. Highway 30 west of St. Helens on the afternoon of Nov. 11. Authorities say he rammed a police car, which then struck Jeffries.

Jeffries was transported to an area hospital, where he has remained in critical condition.

According to court documents, Thralls was initially pursued by an officer in Rainier, Washington, who had been notified earlier that day by Cowlitz County authorities that Thralls was involved in a domestic dispute and robbery. Police say Thralls did not pull over when an OSP sergeant activated his emergency lights, but the sergeant "terminated the pursuit by deactivating his lights and siren when the defendant began driving dangerously," the affidavit asserts.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON STATE POLICE - Oregon State Police have identified the trooper injured in a Nov. 11 crash as John Jeffries.An additional OSP patrol car joined the pursuit, with Trooper Christopher Cowen driving and Trooper John Jeffries in the passenger seat. Jeffries had only graduated from the academy the week prior, having returned to law enforcement a few years after retiring from a 20-year career with the FBI.

East of Thralls, an officer placed spike strips in the roadway, which punctured Thrall's passenger-side tires, officials reported.

Thralls reportedly "began driving erratically again," barely avoided a head-on collision with a truck, and then turned around and drove toward the two OSP patrol cars.

Cowen and Jeffries had exited their patrol car to lay down more spike strips. As Thralls approached, the two ran to the back of Cowen's patrol car.

Thralls hit the patrol car, pushing it back at least 20 feet and striking Jeffries, who was thrown into the air, the affidavit states.

Cowen told investigators that if Jeffries hadn't yelled out to him that Thralls was driving toward them, he would have been hit and killed.

When transported to the hospital, Thralls allegedly told a Beaverton police officer that after the police used spike strips, Thralls had no option but to drive at the officers. Thralls allegedly stated, "If I'm gonna die, I'm taking somebody with me," Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley wrote in court documents.

Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Michael Clarke ordered Thrall's bail increased to $5 million, after prosecutors argued that his criminal history and past behavior toward law enforcement warranted the increase.

Thrall was charged with resisting arrest in two incidents within the past year, and has faced charges in at least 27 incidents since the late 1980s, according to prosecutors.

Two years ago, Thralls was convicted on one count of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Columbia County. He was sentenced to seven days in jail, followed by 18 months of probation.

In that incident, Thralls was pulled over by a Columbia City police officer but refused to produce his license and stated, "I'm out of here," before driving away, Reserve Officer Mary Goodwin wrote in court documents. Thralls passed other traffic by entering the median, ran a red light, and eventually was forced to stop when he encountered stopped traffic on Highway 30 in St. Helens.

Two St. Helens police vehicles blocked Thralls from further forward movement while Goodwin blocked from the back, she wrote of the 2019 incident.

"He attempted to back out of the position but stopped prior to hitting my vehicle," Goodwin added.

Jeffries has been undergoing treatment in Portland since the collision. Oregon State Police indicated Wednesday that his prognosis is unclear.

"During the past six days, Trooper Jeffries has been receiving excellent care from his medical team at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland," a press release from OSP stated. "As a result of the severity of John's injuries, it will take additional time for his medical team to determine the extent of those injuries and his prognosis for recovery."


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