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‘Shooting’ Near DRW Called a Made-Up Tale


A man’s reported shooting on Highway 97 near Deschutes River Woods Wednesday afternoon turned out to be something else entirely, according to investigators who said that actually, the reportedly drunk ?victim? had gotten a ride, tried to steal money and pushed a right-side gas pedal of the Jeep Cherokee, a former mail delivery vehicle.

According to Deschutes County sheriff?s detectives, that caused the Jeep to speed down Highway 97, until the driver, Lawrence Vaughn Saur, 51, of Bend, was able to get off at the Baker Road exit, shift into neutral and stop, then force the passenger, Arnoldo Torres Mejia, 39, also of Bend, out of the vehicle, said Lt. Chad Davis.

Just after 4:30 p.m., a sheriff?s office mechanic called 911 after spotting a bleeding man walking down the off-ramp, near the Riverwoods Country Store south of Bend, Davis said.

Medics and deputies were called to the scene, and Torres Mejia was taken by Bend fire medics to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, where he was treated for his injuries.

Sheriff?s detectives also responded to the scene and the hospital, where Torres Mejia told investigators he?d been shot by the driver of a white Jeep Cherokee, then pushed out of the vehicle, Davis said.

But they determined the man had not been shot, but instead had injuries that matched being struck by an unknown object.

Torres Mejia provided a description of the alleged suspect and vehicle. Sheriff?s office and Bend police detectives went to the Romaine Village subdivision on Bend?s south side, where they located Saur and his Jeep.

Saur told a different story.

He said he knew Torres Mejia, who asked for a ride to the area of Knott Road, and Saur agreed to do so, Davis said, adding that Saur reported the man was intoxicated at the time.

During the ride, Saur said, Torres Mejia tried to steal money from the Jeep?s center console. When Saur confronted him about the theft, he said Torres Mejia got angry and began to push an accelerator on the right floorboard of the Jeep, a former mail delivery vehicle.

Saur said that caused the Jeep to accelerate as it headed south on Highway 97, so he got off at the Baker Road exit, afraid the passenger?s actions would cause a crash.

As a result, Davis said, Saur decided to shift the Jeep into neutral, then into park, allowing him to pull over on the off-ramp shoulder.

At the time, Davis said, Saur was telling Torres Mejia to stop what he was doing and get out, but he refused to do so. Because he felt his safety and that of motorists were at risk, he said he struck Torres Mejia in the head, ordering him out of the Jeep. Eventually, he did get out, Davis said, and Saur left.

?Based upon the interviews of the parties involved, it appears Torres Mejia was placing Saur and other motorists in danger, and Saur used physical force to stop? him, Davis wrote in a news release Wednesday night.

As a result, he said, no arrests have been made, while sheriff?s detectives continue to investigate. However, the lieutenant labeled the incident a possible case of reckless endangering, and said that or other charges could be filed later.

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