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Wild Jefferson County chase ends in driver's arrest

NE Oregon woman is wife of convicted killer

CULVER, Ore. - A 30-year-old northeast Oregon woman driving with a suspended license fled a Culver-area traffic stop late Tuesday afternoon, dragging a deputy about 50 feet at the start of a wild high-speed police chase that ended in a crash, a foot chase over two fences and her arrest, the sheriff said.

A deputy had stopped Jeani Elyse Marlatt of Lexington, Oregon around 4:30 p.m. after she was spotted driving her 2011 white Kia with a felony charge pending of driving with a suspended license, Sheriff Jim Adkins said.

During the traffic stop, Marlatt tried to put the car in gear and leave, prompting the deputy to try to reach in and shut the car off, Adkins said. But she sped away, dragging the deputy about 50 feet. 

Adkins said the deputy sustained minor arm injuries, but ran back to his patrol car and took off after Marlatt.

Marlatt led deputies on a high-speed pursuit on the back roads of Jefferson County at speeds ranging from 40 to 100 mph, from Culver to Haystack Reservoir, toward Prineville on Highway 26 past the Crook County line, then turning around and heading back toward Madras, the sheriff said. A sheriff's Search and Rescue plane assisted in the effort, he added.

A Madras police officer used a spike strip to deflate the right front tire, but she continued to drive on it, Adkins said.

She rear-ended a horse trailer and continued across Highway 97, eventually losing control while trying to make a slow-speed turn from Colfax Lane to John Street, running off the road and into a fence, the sheriff said.

Marlatt got out of her car, jumped a fence and ran across a pasture, with the deputy and sheriff chasing her on foot. The pair caught her after she jumped another fence, stumbling and falling to the ground, Adkins said.

Marlatt was taken to the Jefferson County Jail and lodged on initial charges of felony driving with a suspended license, reckless driving and three counts of second-degree assault. Her bail totaled $185,000.

Marlatt’s husband, Montana Marlatt, is serving a 23-year prison term in the 2013 fatal shooting of rabbit-hunting companion Devon Moschetti on the Crooked River National Grassland.


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