Suspect flees, puts wrong fuel in getaway car, caught after tow truck call

Jeremy Hotha Thomas. Photo courtesy of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

If you're on the run from cops, be sure you know what kind of fuel you put in your car.

Deschutes County Sheriff's Office arrested Jeremy Hotha Thomas, 34, after his car became disabled when he put diesel fuel (which he stole) in his 2017 Chevrolet Cruze that takes gasoline.

It started when deputies responded to a domestic disturbance in Crooked River Ranch, where Thomas' stepfather called to report that Thomas threatened and pointed a gun at him. The caller went inside his house and told dispatchers Thomas also fired the gun.

Thomas, along with his girlfriend and their 3-year-old child, left the scene before authorities arrived. Multiple agencies searched the area, learned Thomas took off, and then put out an attempt to locate on the vehicle.

Three hours later, a tow truck driver responding to a dead battery call from a female tipped off an Oregon State Trooper. After the female told the tow truck driver the make, model and location of the car, the tow truck driver relayed it to the state trooper and it was the car authorities were looking for.

With guns drawn, deputies and troopers approached the car and arrested Thomas without incident. His girlfriend and child were uninjured, and a loaded handgun was found inside the car.

After authorities detained Thomas, they figured out the car's battery wasn't dead at all. Thomas was driving low on fuel when he pulled over, went into a barn and stole a gas can. He filled the can with diesel from a larger fuel tank, and then put it in his car. His car became disabled once he tried to start it.

Thomas, of Shoreline, Wash., was charged with menacing, pointing a firearm at another, unlawful use of a weapon, second degree burglary, third degree theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Thomas is being held in Deschutes County Jail without bail.


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