On Friday January 27 at about 5:20 p.m., Newport Police Officers were dispatched to a report of a theft of gas at Bevens Chevron, on Hwy 101. Police Officers were given a description of the suspect and his vehicle, which was a Ford Taurus. Officers were advised by Dispatch that the Ford was last seen southbound on Hwy 101. Officers began searching for the car and a short time later, it was spotted traveling southbound over the Yaquina Bay Bridge by Oregon State Police Trooper Wertz. Newport Police Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop however the driver immediately sped away, and then pulled into an apartment complex parking lot just south of the South Beach Grocery store. The driver of the Ford, later identified as 27-year old Blake Edward Barnhill of Lincoln City, immediately fled on foot westbound into the wooded area behind the grocery store.
Police Officers pursued Barnhill through the wooded area, and ultimately confronted him southwest of the original stop location. Barnhill was not compliant with Police Officers, and State Police Trooper Wertz deployed a Taser in order to detain the suspect. Barnhill was taken into custody. Medics arrived on scene to transport him to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital for evaluation. While being treated at SPCH, Barnhill reportedly made several unsuccessful attempts to escape from custody. After being treated and released at the hospital, Barnhill was transported and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail. He was charged with Theft 3rd Degree; DUII; Attempt to Elude Police; Resisting Arrest, and Escape 3rd Degree. His bail was set at $67,500. Newport Police Officers were assisted at the scene by Oregon State Police, and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies.