IRRIGON, Oregon – The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office reports that Deputy Aaron Haak was attempting a traffic stop when the driver, who was later identified as Matthew James Way, 28, of Hermiston, failed to yield and fled on Highway 730 at speeds reaching 70 miles per hour.
Deputy Oscar Madrigal and Deputy Taylor Wasserman assisted in the pursuit. The suspect was driving a 2009 white Ford Focus that the Morrow County Communication Center advised the deputies had been reported stolen out of Hermiston. During the chase, the suspect almost hit a city of Irrigon vehicle and, according to a news release from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, put others in the area in danger.
At one point, Haak stopped his patrol truck in the middle of a dead-end road to “encourage the driver to stop,” the release said.
MCSO reports that the suspect had turned around and sped toward Deputy Haak in an intentional head-on collision course, at the last moment swerved around. The chase lasted four minutes. It ended when Haak and Madrigal ordered the driver and his passenger out of the vehicle at gunpoint.
The passenger, a 51-year-old Irrigon woman, was detained but released with no charges. Way was arrested and faces charges of felony elude, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, six counts of reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. He has been lodged at the Umatilla County Jail with a preliminary bail of $55,000.