Police: Drunk trucker claimed gunmen took him hostage

Police: Drunk trucker claimed gunmen took him hostage
Thomas James Conner

CANYONVILLE, Ore. - The driver sent a text message to his trucking company, reporting that he and his load of berries had been taken hostage by two gun-toting men Wednesday.

Oregon State Police scrambled to respond to the 2:30 p.m. report from Anker Trucking in Washington state.

The driver told the company he was taken hostage by two gun-toting men who took his keys and told him to stay with the truck until they returned to steal it and the load of berries he was transporting.

A trooper got the trucker on the phone - and found he had difficulty explaining what was going on, police said.

Troopers found the truck 20 minutes later along Interstate 5 southbound with its hood up and emergency flashers on.

About a quarter mile down the interstate, state troopers found two men on foot.

One of them was the driver of the truck, Thomas James Conner, 33, of Bellingham, Wash.

The other man was an unauthorized passenger who had been riding in the truck, police said.

Both men were too drunk to drive, police said, and made up the hostage story.

Conner was booked into the Douglas County Jail on charges of DUII and Initiating a False Police Report. Police also cited him for Unlawful Possession of an Open Container.

The passenger was not arrested or cited.