A Sutherlin man was arrested in northern Douglas County following a nearly four-hour-long standoff with authorities near the Interstate 5 northbound interchange at Curtin.

The standoff started when a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spotted a 2001 Oldsmobile parked in the triangular median of the freeway interchange at exit 159. When contacted, the driver of the Oldsmobile reportedly became immediately confrontational with the deputy, according to a court document.

The driver, later identified as Russell Scott Surkamer, 66, had a number of felony warrants out for his arrest.

As Surkamer refused deputies’ orders to exit the vehicle, a set of spike strips was deployed in front of his car as Surkamer has a history of attempting to elude police. More deputies arrived on the scene and after 45 minutes of trying to get Surkamer to leave the car, he threatened deputies with a “small sword-type knife,” according to police.

Another deputy arrived to serve as a negotiator to try and coax Surkamer out of the situation, but for the next three hours, Surkamer reportedly grew increasingly agitated, shouting profanities and refusing to leave the car.

Through the rear passenger side of the car, deputies deployed two small canisters of tear gas into the car, but Surkamer still refused to get out. After the first canister, Surkamer reportedly waved a small crowbar at deputies and, after the second canister, he reportedly sprayed pepper spray at the deputies, the court document said.

After a higher-capacity canister was shot into the car, Surkamer ultimately surrendered but requested assistance getting out of the car. Surkamer was treated and cleared by emergency medical personnel on the scene and later also was cleared at CHI Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg before being lodged in the Douglas County Jail.

At his arraignment in Douglas County Circuit Court Tuesday, Surkamer was formally charged with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. He was held without bail.

Surkamer had two arrests in June and July of this year for, among other charges, attempting to elude police. The case in Coos County Circuit Court related to his July 23 arrest in Coos County — which also includes a charge of reckless endangerment of highway workers — is currently on hold pending a confirmation of Surkamer’s mental fitness to assist in his defense.

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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