NE Oregon woman gets 13 years in wild Jefferson Co. chase

Dragged a deputy 50-80 feet at April traffic stop

MADRAS, Ore. - A northeast Oregon woman has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for a wild high-speed chase in April after she fled a Culver-area traffic stop, dragging a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy about 50 feet. The prosecutor said it was the second time in less than a year she’d dragged an Oregon police officer while trying to flee a traffic stop. 

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annette Hillman imposed the 164-month sentence Friday on Jeani Marlatt, 30, of Lexington, Oregon, District Attorney Steve Leriche said Monday. 

Leriche said that on April 18, sheriff’s Deputy Ronald Larson stopped Marlatt’s 2011 Kia around 4:30 p.m. after determining she was driving with a suspended driver’s license.

Marlatt ignored his instructions and drove away when Larson tried to reach into her car to turn it off. He was dragged 50 to 80 feet and sustained minor arm injuries, officials said.

Another deputy, Justin Silence, was on scene and pursued Marlatt, soon joined by other officers, including Deputy Jason Pollock, Sheriff Jim Adkins and Madras police Detective Steve Webb.

The pursuit lasted about 25 minutes and ended when Marlatt crashed into a fence after her tires were punctured by a police “stop stick.” Leriche said before that, she also crashed into a horse trailer being towed by two young women from Madras, who also was injured.

Leriche said it was revealed at trial that Marlatt was sentenced to probation for dragging a police officer during another attempt to flee a traffic stop in Umatilla County in July of last year.

Senior Deputy DA Brentley Foster asked the judge to impose a 184-month sentence, noting the probation for the earlier incident, her prior criminal history and lack of remorse, Leriche said. Defense attorney Jennifer Kimble argued that Marlatt clearly has underlying mental health issues that affected her judgment and requested a more lenient sentence.

Hillman sentenced Marlatt to 164 months in prison, the first 70 months as a Measure 11 sentence, meaning she’s not eligible to participate in any programs to earn time off for good behavior.

In imposing sentence, the judge noted the earlier, identical conduct and Maratt’s pattern of using a car in crimes, along with the jury's findings that previous convictions had not deterred her wrongful conduct.

“The district attorney’s office is pleased with this sentence, as it reflects a serious consequence for when a law enforcement officer and members of the public are injured by a repeat criminal,” Leriche wrote in a news release issued Monday.

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