Second chase ends in crash and arrest

HERMISTON – A man who fled from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office twice Sunday ended up crashing into a fence. The following is a news release from the sheriff’s office:

On Sunday, December 6th, 2020, shortly after 2am, UCSO Deputy Michael Ellwood attempted to stop a black BMW with license plates that did not match the make of the vehicle, in the area of Bridge Rd and Westland Rd near Hermiston. The driver took off at a high rate of speed eastbound W. Highland Ave. Deputy Ellwood began to pursue the vehicle, but then ended it within seconds due to safety concerns, and lost the vehicle.

Deputy Ellwood and Deputy Cody Marcum canvassed the area where the vehicle was heading and found it driving near the intersection of S. Townsend Rd and Hooker Rd. Deputies activated their overhead lights to try and stop the vehicle again. The car sped away and the deputies pursued it for approximately 2.5 miles on county roads. The driver crashed through a chain link fence, and then rolled the vehicle onto the property at 1499 N. Townsend Rd. The male driver then ran away.   

With the assistance of Hermiston PD and Umatilla PD, they located the driver hiding in the brush approximately 200 yards from the crash site. He was identified as Jason Michael Garza, age 30.

Garza admitted that he was driving the vehicle and fled because he had just smoked methamphetamine. He also said he had quantity of methamphetamine in his possession. Garza said he lost control of the vehicle when he reached for his cell phone, which was on the floor.

The deputies located approximately 9 grams of methamphetamine that were packaged in individual baggies, along with a digital scale and $1,517.00 in cash. Garza was also driving on a suspended license.

Garza was transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center where he was evaluated and medically cleared for injuries. Deputy Ellwood transported Garza to the Umatilla County Jail where he was lodged on numerous charges.