ST. HELENS – Columbia County Sheriff's deputies have a suspect in custody today after a harrowing carjacking incident Sunday night that injured one victim and netted the recovery of the stolen vehicle shortly after it was taken from a St. Helens area man.
In custody in the Columbia County Jail is Shannon L. Winter, 35, on one count of Assault Third Degree, One count each of Kidnapping Second Degree and Recklessly Endangering Another, along with additional single counts of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Robbery Second Degree and Criminal Mischief Second Degree.
On April 12th, 2009 at about 6:50 p.m., deputies received a call of a stolen vehicle in progress on Vandolah Lane near St. Helens. As deputies were responding, it was reported that the vehicle had crashed a short distance from where it had been taken. Two suspects (one male and one female) were reported to be at large in the densely wooded area just north of where the stolen vehicle had crashed. A request for additional units was made and a perimeter was set using officers from the cities of Scappoose, Columbia City and Rainier and the Oregon State Police. Canine units responded from St. Helens and Clatskanie police departments.
Approximately one-half hour after beginning a canine track of the suspects, Winter was located near a power line access road and was taken into custody without further incident.
The incident began when Winter reportedly contacted the victims in their vehicle as the victims were preparing to tow a separate disabled vehicle with their 1997 Dodge pickup. The victims offered to give the suspect and a female subject a ride. Winter and the female were in the pickup truck when the pickup's owner, Dave Brenden, 46, St. Helens, got out to hook up the disabled vehicle. A second victim, Daniel McMillen of St. Helens also got out and into the bed of the pickup.
With both victims out of the truck, the suspect got into the driver's seat and drove off with McMillen still in the back, and Brenden was dragged approximately 20 feet by his own vehicle. Brenden reported no injuries. McMillen received some injuries but refused medical attention. McMillen was in the bed of the pickup when the vehicle subsequently crashed but was not thrown from the vehicle. The suspect and female associate fled on foot. The female has not been located or identified.