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Manhunt for wanted man who eluded law enforcement

Written by on January 25, 2024

UPDATE: On Thursday, January 25, 2024, around 9:00 am, deputies received information of a suspicious male who matched the description of Best. A deputy observed the male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and called for additional resources to assist in apprehending him.

Shortly before 10:00, deputies located Best and took him into custody without incident. He was lodged at the Douglas County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to extend its thanks to the community of Sutherlin, the Sutherlin Police Department, and Oregon State Police in assisting in the apprehension of Best.

SUTHERLIN, Ore. — A wanted man eluded law enforcement Wednesday evening following a vehicle pursuit. Law enforcement is still seeking his whereabouts.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, shortly after 5:00 pm, a deputy attempted to stop a silver 2008 Ford Focus near the 800-block of John Long Road in Oakland. The driver failed to stop for the deputy and attempted to elude at a high rate of speed driving southbound on Interstate 5. 

Near the Oakland exit, a Sutherlin Police Officer was able to successfully deploy spike strips on the eluding vehicle. The driver of the Focus later crashed into a ditch and fled on foot near Interstate 5, Exit 136 in Sutherlin. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Billy James Best of Seaside, Oregon, was believed to be armed with a handgun. Law enforcement issued a “reverse 9-1-1” call to the area using an alerting system to notify area residents.

DCSO, Sutherlin Police Department and Oregon State Police searched the area for hours with assistance of canines without success. Best has multiple warrants for his arrest including new crimes committed during the elude. 

There remains a heavy law enforcement presence in the area searching for Best, although it is believed he has likely left the area. “We ask the community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1,” Lt. Brad O’Dell said.

A female passenger, Christina Marie Dominguez of Cave Junction was taken into custody for Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine.

Best is described as a white male adult, approximately 6’0″ tall weighing approximately 200 lbs, with several tattoos. He was last seen wearing dark clothing at the time he ran from police. Booking photos of Best from 2022 are being released to assist in his apprehension. 

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