PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 35-year old retired Lakewood military man with PTSD was chased by deputies on Wednesday afternoon before he crashed into another car, spun off and stopped on the shoulder of I-5, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was suicidal and he had intents to go and do what he described as a ‘Las Vegas style’ shooting,” Charlie Rosenzweig with the sheriff’s office said.
Christopher James Bleavins, 35, was originally approached by military personnel at Joint Base Lewis McCord before he fled in a red Mazda 6. Police chased him on I-5 with Bleavins crossing lanes and exceeding 100 mph. The chase ended when he crashed into another car and spun off the shoulder.
The woman in that car was Caitlyn Roettger, who told KOIN via Facebook message that she saw Bleavin’s coming onto the shoulder a few cars behind her and moved out of his way, but he his her car.
“I spun around a couple times before landing in the left shoulder. He was over by the tracks on the other side of the road with cops blocking traffic and pointing guns at him by the time I could see anything because of the spin,” she told KOIN 6 News.
Roettger said another person stopped and helped calm her down. She was not seriously injured but did hit her head hard enough to bleed.
“We were very concerned the way he was driving that somebody was going to get seriously injured or killed,” Rosenzweig said.
Bleavins was taken to the hospital before he was booked into jail. The sheriff’s office said Bleavins was unarmed. They also said they don’t know the extent of his military service and they don’t believe Bleavins actually had access to any weapons.
“We’re very, very relieved that they were able to get him into custody fairly safely with nobody seriously injured,” Rosenzweig said.
Bleavins was booked for first degree assault, eluding police, 2 counts of hit-and-run and reckless endangerment.