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Prineville PD stolen-car chase ends in crash, arrest

Officers say car had been left running, unlocked

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A car left unlocked and running was stolen in southeast Prineville Saturday night, police said. It was spotted by police early Sunday, but the driver refused to pull over, leading officers on a chase on the snowy streets, backing into a patrol car and eventually crashing into a parked car, where the 28-year-old Prineville woman behind the wheel was arrested.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, a Prineville resident reported their car, a blue 2007 Chevy Cobalt, had been left running and unlocked to warm up in the area of Southeast Mountain View Road when someone stole it, said Sgt. Jimmy O’Daniel.

Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, police found the stolen car being driven in the area of Third and Main streets, O’Daniel said.

Officers tried to make a high-risk (guns-drawn) traffic stop in the area of Southeast Juniper Street near Fifth Street. But they said the driver, later identified as Elizabeth Ann Butler, refused to yield and began to elude police, the sergeant said.

The pursuit lasted for about 1.4 miles, all within the city limits, at speeds of 20 to about 45 mph, O’Daniel said.

At one point, the driver spun out while making a turn. Officers thought the car could not go on and tried to contact the driver, but she was able to back out and “made contact” with the front of a patrol car, causing minor damage to it, then took off again.

Butler lost control of the car and crashed into a parked car near Southeast Idlewood and First streets, O’Daniel said, adding that both cars could be total losses as a result.

There were no injuries resulting from the pursuit or crash, but police Captain Larry Seymour said Butler did sustain facial scrapes when officers ordered her down to the icy ground, a standard procedure for most felony stops.

Butler was booked into the Crook County Jail on charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person, attempt to elude and two counts of criminal mischief. Initial bail totaled $65,000, a jail officer said.


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