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Suspected sex offender nabbed after pursuit

Jeffery Alan Kelly

MORROW COUNTY, Oregon – Morrow County  Sheriff’s Office deputies ended up in a pursuit as they tried to pull over Jeffrey Alan Kelly, 41, of Irrigon Monday night at 10:44 p.m. District Attorney Justin Nelson told KUMA News that the deputies were attempting to serve a secret warrant issued by a Morrow County grand jury, charging Kelly with two counts of first-degree sex abuse and two counts of second-degree sodomy.

According to a news release issued by MCSO, it was all hands on deck as Kelly tried to flee.

“After failing to stop, Kelly attempted to elude,” the release states.

In all, eight MCSO officers were in the area attempting to close off Kelly’s possible escape routes. He was driving a 2007 silver Chevrolet Suburban with a passenger on board. The pursuit went east on Columbia and then east on Highway 730. Kelly then turned south of Division towards Depot Lane.

At that point, Kelly then entered a cornfield and a hemp field and drove through some irrigation circles. He was followed into a field full of sagebrush, where his vehicle got stuck and he fled on foot. Kelly and his passenger took off on foot but were rounded up in about three minutes, and about 20 minutes after the original traffic stop was attempted.

The passenger was later released with no charges against her. Kelly was arrested on the secret indictment warrant and is lodged in Umatilla County Jail on $1 million bond. Further charges relating to his attempt to flee law enforcement are pending, including felony elude, failure to register as a sex offender, and three counts of reckless endangering.

“Due to our recent full staffing and 24-hour coverage schedule, we had additional resources available to utilize, deterring an easy escape route which ultimately led to this suspect being taken in custody quickly,” Sheriff Ken Matlack said.

MCSO thanked Strebin Farms for bringing out a big tractor to assist deputies at the scene, and thanked the Umatilla Police Department for sending an officer to the county line to deter Kelly from re-entering Highway 730.

District Attorney Nelson said that if Kelly’s name sounds familiar, he was the victim of a stabbing in September 2017. His attacker, Joel Ernesto Rodriguez is in prison after being found guilty of second-degree assault.

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