Dave Dahl of Dave's Killer Bread found guilty except for insanity in clash with deputies

By Emily E. Smith | The Oregonian | October 31, 2014

A Washington County judge has found Dave Dahl guilty except for insanity on charges related to his ramming patrol cars during a mental health crisis that ended with the cofounder of Dave's Killer Bread in handcuffs.

Dahl, 51, is known for his rise from ex-con to the face of the Milwaukie-based company that expanded nationwide with his distinctive image on the wrappers.

The Nov. 14 incident leading to his arrest began when Dahl's friend called police to report that Dahl was having a mental breakdown. According to court records, the incident played out as follows:

Washington County sheriff's deputies arrived to the caller's Cedar Hills residence and found Dahl was behind the wheel of a Cadillac Escalade. He crashed into a patrol car and then took off.

Deputies chased the Escalade through residential streets before Dahl rammed Deputy Chris Gilderson's car in a cul-de-sac. Dahl backed the Escalade up and slammed into the patrol car a second time.

A corporal saw the Escalade's reverse lights come on, and he drove into the SUV, pinning it against Gilderson's vehicle.

Dahl fought the deputies as they took him into custody. After deputies delivered multiple blows and used a Taser on him, they eventually got handcuffs on him.

Defense attorney Stephen Houze later said serious mental health issues were behind his client's behavior.

In a stipulated facts trial Friday afternoon, Presiding Circuit Judge Kirsten Thompson found Dahl guilty except for insanity on charges of third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon, related to his ramming of the deputy's cars. The weapon in this case was Dahl's black Escalade.

Before Dahl joined his family's bakery in 2004, he spent 15 years in and out of prison. He later launched Dave's Killer Bread, the whole grain bread business that carries his image on its label.

Dahl's family sold a half-stake in the business to expand nationwide in 2012. That same year, the company reported $53 million in sales and 280 employees -- nearly a third of them ex-cons.

More information to come.