A report to 911 from the victim of a hit & run lead police in pursuit of a suspect in a stolen car and an ensuing search that lasted over two hours on Thursday, Nov. 21, in Scappoose.
The hit and run call came in at approximately 3:33 p.m. from the scene where it had just occurred – in or around the parking lot of the Scappoose Napa Store on Highway 30. The suspect took off southbound on Old Portland Road, and other callers to 911 concerned about the suspect’s erratic driving provided police with a license plate number.
As it turns out, the pickup the suspect was driving had been stolen in Cowlitz County, Washington earlier that day.
Columbia County Deputy Leonard Olsen, driving an unmarked car, spotted the suspect up on Dutch Canyon Road and followed the pickup back into Scappoose, but lost sight of it in the Fred Meyer’s Parking Lot. Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley said Olsen has worked with the CCSO for quite some time and had retired, but now contracts with the agency.
“He was bad at retiring,” Pixley joked. “Olsen kept his eyes on the truck until Scappoose police could arrive.”
A Scappoose Police Department (SPD) officer located the stolen truck in the north end of the Fred Meyer’s parking lot a short time later and initiated a traffic stop. The driver parked and stopped for a moment but took off southbound on Old Portland Road with the SPD in pursuit and eventually headed northbound on Highway 30.
Almost immediately, the SPD put a stop to the chase due to heavy traffic and safety concerns, briefly losing sight of the fleeing vehicle, but the public assisted by pointing them back in the suspect’s direction on High School Way and then SE 6th Street.
The suspect or suspects abandoned the stolen pickup truck in a field/construction site in the 52000 block of SE 6th Street and fled north on foot. With the assistance of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Columbia City Police Department, the SPD immediately set up a containment area. Three drones were utilized in the search and a St. Helens Police Department K9 was brought in. While the containment area was being searched by the dog, a suspect was located based upon a tip from a citizen and was detained by police.
“The dog went the same direction as where she was found, but before he got there, someone had already called her in,” SPD Lt. James Macfarlane said.
That suspect has been identified as 34-year-old Felicia Becky Mosqueda Leal. She was arrested and booked into the Columbia County Jail on charges of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude police, the hit and run, and criminal driving with a suspended or revoked license. Her bail is currently set at $54,750.
Macfarlane said police think there were two people in the car at the time of the reported hit and run, and that a man was initially driving the vehicle.
“It sounds like, at one point, he got out of the truck but where he got dropped off, I don’t know,” Macfarlane said, adding the actual car chase portion of the incident only lasted for a few minutes before the truck was found abandoned. “We have no information on who the other occupant would have been at this time.”
Police continued the search after arresting Leal, but wrapped up the scene around 6:30 p.m.
The SPD said no injuries or property damage was reported during the incident, other than the damage sustained to the victim’s vehicle in the initial hit and run that prompted the ordeal.
The SPD were assisted on scene by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, St. Helens Police Department, Columbia City Police Department, and the Scappoose Fire Protection District.