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OROVILLE — A Paradise man, suspected of stealing a sport utility vehicle in Oroville, was arrested Tuesday night after leading California Highway Patrol officers on a chase onto Table Mountain that ended when he splashed the SUV into a pond off a gravel road.

The suspect, John Matthew Campbell, 32, of Paradise, was booked on numerous charges, including vehicle theft and felony pursuit.

Authorities allege Campbell was driving a 1990 Nissan Pathfinder stolen from Dennis Jagoda of Oroville.

CHP spokesman Doug Garret said Wednesday the incident began around 7:40 p.m. when Jagoda saw his vehicle being driven north on Highway 70 near Grand Avenue.

Jagoda called 9-1-1.

The call was dispatched to CHP and officers were able to intercept the suspect on Highway 70 at Highway 149.

The CHP attempted an enforcement stop on Highway 70 east of Clark Road, but the suspect failed to stop and continued up the highway. At that point Campbell was driving about 70 mph, Garrett said.

An eight-mile pursuit ensued.

Campbell turned right onto Cherokee Road and continued south on the narrow, curvy road, heading back toward Oroville. Traveling about 60 mph, the suspect attempted to turn left onto Schirmer Lane, a gravel road, but lost control and the Nissan went off the road.

The Nissan landed in a small pond and was half submerged in about three feet of water, flooding the SUV”s interior. Campbell gave up and was taken into custody.

Officers found burglary tools, specifically shaved ignition keys, in the Nissan ignition, Garrett said.

“It appears to be how he started the vehicle,” said Garrett, adding that possession of shaved ignition keys is illegal.

The CHP spokesman said Campbell faces several charges: possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, vehicle theft and felony pursuit.

Garrett said the pursuit lasted about eight minutes.

Campbell was not injured. He remains in custody at Butte County Jail.

Staff writer Barbara Arrigoni can be reached at 533-3136 or barrigoni@orovillemr.com.

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