Linn deputies closed Highway 34 west of Lebanon for about three hours Saturday to find and take into custody a Eugene man who claimed to be driving a car wired with explosives.
Initial reports were not complete, but dispatch logs indicated the man contacted law enforcement officials himself, about 6:17 p.m., and told them he was at a gas station on Highway 34 with the rigged vehicle.
Deputies closed the highway at milepost 14 west of Lebanon and rerouted traffic onto connecting rural roads. Sgt. Dave Lawler of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office said deputies then waited for the Oregon State Police bomb squad before moving forward with the investigation.
“He made several calls to police about it,” Lawler said. “For everybody’s safety, we blocked off 34.”
No explosives were found in the vehicle, a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. The man, Matthew Owen Reniff, 35, was taken into custody on charges of initiating a false report, improper use of 911 and two counts of first-degree disorderly conduct.
Lawler said it’s his understanding the man had been arguing with a girlfriend prior to the incident. He said Linn County was in touch with the girlfriend during the incident and she took the Malibu from the scene.