A man suspected of stealing multiple vehicles and eluding Hermiston Police in a high-speed chase earlier this week is in police custody.

Hermiston Police arrested Richard Correa, 28, a transient of Hermiston, on seven warrants at approximately 11 a.m. Friday.

Police discovered Correa and his father, Cruz Correa, in a sport utility vehicle at Economy Inn at 835 North First St. HPD Officer Rodrigo Vega identified himself to Cruz Correa, before he ordered him to stop the vehicle, according to a press release from the Hermiston Police Department. Cruz Correa ignored Vega, continued driving from the parking lot and was later taken into custody and released after a felony traffic stop.

Richard Correa was lodged at Umatilla County Jail in the city’s designated jail bed on various charges including one count of unlawful entry to a motor vehicle and one count of unlawful use of a motor vehicle for the incident of a van theft June 24 from Theater Sports Park.

Other charges against Richard Correa were unlawful use of a motor vehicle, attempt to elude in vehicle, attempt to elude on foot, reckless driving, failure to perform duties of driver – property damage, driving while suspended and two counts of third-degree theft related to an incident on Thursday where he fled from Officer Scott Clark. Richard Correa was charged with traffic violations of speed racing, illegal display of plates, failure to obey a traffic control device, driving without headlights, failure to signal a turn and failure to stop when emerging from an alley.

Cruz Correa was later charged with hindering prosecution before he was processed and released by HPD. Rebeckah J. Ellis, 23, a transient of Hermiston, was also arrested and lodged at UCJ on a probation violation warrant. Ellis was identified by police as the passenger in a Chevrolet pickup driven by Richard Correa in a high-speed pursuit on Wednesday night.

Clark first spotted the Chevrolet pickup, stolen from Golden Manor Apartments, late Wednesday night. The pickup was partially covered in spray paint and was traveling eastbound on East Elm Avenue. The driver continued onto N.W. Seventh Street above the speed limit in the designated 25 mph zone. Clark followed skid marks at the intersection of West Ridgeway Avenue and N.W. Seventh around the corner, where the pickup had destroyed a mailbox and rose bushes.

Clark identified Richard Correa as the driver. When asked to get out of the vehicle, Correa refused and instead sped off eastbound on West Ridgeway Avenue. The chase continued down Umatilla River Road, where Correa is believed to have traveled at speeds higher than 100 mph. While trying to negotiate a turn eastbound onto Bensel Road, Correa spun out approximately 500 yards northbound down the Union Pacific railroad tracks before getting the truck stuck.

He and Ellis then fled on foot. Hermiston Police will be sending a full report to the Umatilla County District Attorney for charges.

“Mr. Correa is proof all it takes is one or two people to continue to be allowed to go on crime sprees and cause an incredible amount of havoc and danger to this community,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said. “It is time to hold Mr. Correa accountable for his actions over the course of the last year before he kills an innocent bystander with his blatant disregard to life and property.”

In other vehicle-related crime, Umatilla County Sheriff-elect Terry Rowan recovered a stolen vehicle on Gun Club Lane on Thursday, where two men were arrested. Matthew Daley Weatherford was arrested by Morrow County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Daniel Roy Walchli was arrested by Morrow County Sheriff’s Office on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and POCS methamphetamine. Both men have bail set at $7,500.

Money taken from Stockman’s till

Also Thursday, $3,100 was taken from the cash register at Stockman’s Steakhouse. Co-owner Paul Fuchs believes a customer may have entered the till area and left with the cash while a bartender was away.

Now employees won’t go out from behind the bar without locking the till, he said.

He said the theft will have a big effect on the business he and his wife Barbra Fuchs have owned since 1996.

“Three-thousand bucks, boom, gone,” Fuchs said. “We work seven days a week and they don’t do nothing, it’s pretty brazen.”

Umatilla man arrested on meth charge

A Umatilla man was arrested on charges of reckless driving and possession of methamphetamine. Willie Lee McLemore, 45, was apprehended on West Lathrop Avenue and S.W. Ninth Street.

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