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‘Unsettling:’ Idaho man charged in reckless driving, crash and standoff interrupts in court to offer apology to victims

Nicholas Michael Wood in court 4-22-1
Deschutes County Circuit Court
Nicholas Michael Wood raises his hand to speak at Monday court appearance.
Brookswood crash Dave Moore 4-21
Dave Moore
Police say driver pursued earlier ran after head-on crash Sunday on Brookswood Boulevard
shelter in place alert and lifted web 4-21
Deschutes Alerts
Some SW Bend residents were advised by Deschutes Alert to shelter in place due to fleeing suspect for close to three hours
SW Sunny Way Bend standoff Eric Runnels 4-21
Eric Runnels
Bend Fire sent ladder truck after reckless driving suspect climbed on roof of detached garage, refused to come down Sunday afternoon

(Update: Suspect's speaks in court; adding video, comment by neighbors)

Judge, attorneys urge suspect Nicholas Wood not to speak, but he insists

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – An Idaho man spoke several times in court Monday, against a judge and attorneys' advice, offering to write an apology letter to two victims hospitalized after a hit-and-run crash Sunday in southwest Bend, which followed a reckless-driving pursuit on Highway 20 and preceded a 2-hour standoff on a garage roof.

Around 12:30 p.m., Sunday, an off-duty Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy called 911 dispatchers to report a reckless driver heading west on Highway 20 near Millican, Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said. The driver of the gold Toyota Sequoia was reported to be passing illegally, speeding, swerving and nearly causing crashes.

An Oregon Police trooper also spotted the SUV, and the trooper and a deputy attempted a traffic stop, but the driver, later identified as Nicholas Michael Wood, 42, of Idaho eluded the deputy and trooper. They pursued the suspect, but discontinued the chase before entering Bend, Miller said.

Deputies deployed a spike strip outside the city limits, but were unsuccessful in stopping Wood, who turned south on NE 27th Street, then west on Knott Road. Miller said he continued to speed and eventually headed north on Brookswood Boulevard.

“Bend police and sheriff’s deputies staged in a variety of locations, but did not pursue” the driver, Miller said in a news release.

Shortly after 1 p.m., a Bend Police officer successfully deployed spike strips, but Wood continued to drive recklessly northbound on Brookswood, crossed into oncoming traffic and struck an approaching vehicle head-on, Miller said. The two people in the other car were hospitalized; a St. Charles spokeswoman said both were in fair condition Monday.

Wood ran from his SUV, and around 1:25 p.m., he climbed onto the roof of a detached garage in the 20000 block of SW Sunny Way.

For about two hours, officers and deputies negotiated with Wood, to no avail. At deputies’ request, 911 dispatchers sent a Deschutes Alert to residents within 1/8 of a mile, advising them of the fleeing suspect and to shelter in place. 

Moies said, "I was a little nervous. but as far as whether i felt threatened, not really. I was at the other end of the street pretty far away and there were a lot of police and we felt pretty safe at the time."

Brookswood Boulevard also was closed between Murphy and Reed Market roads for several hours, Miller noted.

“Officers and deputies then used multiple less-lethal options, including firing pepper balls containing chemical irritants and 40-millimeter less-lethal ammunition,” Miller wrote, before Wood was taken into custody around 3:40 p.m.

The shelter-in-place advisory was lifted shortly after 4 p.m.

Wood was taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation, then booked into the county jail and held without bail pending arraignment.

Sunny Way resident Eric Runnels said the police response made for a “terrifying event” on their “little dead-end street,” but praised officers for their actions in seeking to resolve the incident.

“They were incredibly patient with this gentleman, and very professional,” Runnels said.

Asked if she was surprised by all the chaos, another resident of the Sunny Way neighborhood, Karen Moies said, "There's no chaos here, so that was unsettling."

Moies was on a walk in the neighborhood when police activity forced her to change course.

"I'm not sure we feel that invaded, although it was an invasion with all the cars and everything," she added. "I think it just makes us a little more vigilant for each other and watch out for each other." 

The district attorney's office filed 17 initial formal charges Monday against Wood, including six felonies: Two counts each of second-degree assault and third-degree assault (DUII), failure to perform the duties of a driver to seriously injured persons and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

The 11 misdemeanor charges include DUII, fleeing or attempting to elude police, reckless driving, failure to perform the duties of a driver-property damage, second-degree criminal mischief and six counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Wood was interruptive during his arraignment Monday afternoon, as Deputy District Attorney Michael Swart pressed for bail being set at $250,000, along with not allowing any weapons or for him to drive under any circumstances.

Swart noted that Wood “lacks ties to Central Oregon” and “has a rather long and disturbing criminal history,” which Oregon court records show include time spent in an Idaho state prison. Swart stepped through Sunday's events, including “horrific driving and elude” and the crash that hospitalized two vcitims.

Wood disputed that he had any firearms in his vehicle, but Swart said ammunition in the vehicle exploded when it caught fire following the crash.

Circuit Judge David Delsman joined in reminding Wood of his right to remain silent and urging him to meet confidentially with his attorney, rather than make public comments in court that could be used against him at trial.

Due to the nature of the allegations, the judge strongly advised Wood to meet with his attorney before arguing for his release.

“Yeah, I’m not going to have enough (money) to do it anyway,” he said, raising his hand to say he wanted to apologize to the crash victims.

When Wood said he wanted to send an apology letter to the crash victims, the judge told him, “You need to contact your lawyer about that. He may feel this is not the time to express sentiments that could be taken as an admission of guilt.”

Wood replied: “Somebody got hurt, and I’d like to apologize – that’s all, sir.”

Delsman agreed to the requested $250,000 bail and set Wood's arraignment on an expected indictment for Friday. He set conditions that include no driving whatsoever and, if he's able to post bail, to require GPS monitoring.

Miller said Sunday that Bend Police wished to thank the sheriff’s office and OSP for their assistance, as well as Bend Fire & Rescue for providing a ladder truck to help remove Wood from the roof.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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Barney Lerten

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