Jeffrey Alan Kelly of Irrigon is in jail on charges of sexual abuse after leading law enforcement on a chase.
Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson said a grand jury indicted Kelly in secret. According to court documents, the state accused Kelly, 41, of sexually assaulting a girl younger than 14 in December 2018. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree sodomy and two of first-degree sexual abuse.
Circuit Judge Daniel Hill set bail for Kelly at $275,000. He remains in the Umatilla County Jail.
The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office arrested Kelly on a warrant for the charges Monday night, but not before he tried to get away.
Patrol Sgt. Nathen Braun attempted a traffic stop on Kelly “after some strategic planning and organization,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Kelly and a passenger, however, took off in a 2007 silver Chevrolet Suburban down Highway 730.
Sheriff Ken Matlack, patrol Sgt. Todd Siex and three deputies worked to close off escape routes, and Kelly turned south on Division Lane toward Depot Lane and entered a cornfield and a hemp field.
Several members of sheriff’s office followed. Kelly stuck the Suburban in sagebrush, then he and the passenger bolted on foot. The sheriff’s office caught the pair after about three minutes.
Matlack said due to full staffing and a 24-hour coverage schedule, the sheriff’s office had the resources available to make the capture a success.
One sheriff’s vehicle also became stuck in the rough terrain and later removed, along with the Suburban. The sheriff’s office later released the passenger, Lucia Madrigal, 31, of Boardman, without charges.
The sheriff’s office acknowledged Strebin Farms for “bringing out the big tractor to assist the deputies at the scene,” and Umatilla police for sending an officer to the county line to keep Kelly from re-entering Highway 730. Matlack praised all involved for their team work.
Kelly will face charges related to the chase, including felony eluding, criminal mischief and reckless endangering. Nelson said his office could charge Kelly with failure to register as a sex offender.
The state in 2009 charged Kelly with first-degree rape, sexual abuse and more. He pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree sexual abuse and served about six years in prison.
Kelly in September 2017 was the victim of a stabbing. The attacker in that case, Joel Ernesto Rodriguez, is serving almost four years in prison after pleading no contest in 2018 to second-degree assault.
Kelly’s next hearing is Aug. 22 for a pre-trial conference.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office called off a high-speed pursuit when it became too dangerous.
Umatilla County sheriff’s Lt. Sterrin Holcomb said Stanfield police Saturday at about 9:30 p.m. tried to stop a black Acura Integra for speeding on Highway 395.
“It was going at speeds over 100 mph,” she said.
The driver got away, and soon a sheriff’s deputy spotted the car on East Highland Extension, Hermiston. The Acura wound up to 86 mph, she said, and swerved into oncoming traffic. The sheriff’s office ended the chase due to safety concerns.
But the sheriff’s office caught the suspect early Sunday, Sterrin said, when a deputy responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on the 31000 block of Joy Lane, Hermiston. The deputy found the Acura with a front plate matching the car from the earlier chases. It also had a rear plate from a Chevrolet pickup. The deputy arrested Adam Fredrick Abell, 31, of Hermiston, on 10 charges, including felony eluding, reckless endangering and felony methamphetamine possession. He, too, is in the county jail.
Abell also has a felony weapons case pending in Morrow County Circuit Court. He bailed out of jail on that case Thursday.