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Alleged car thieves take cops for a long ride

Suspected car thieves who reportedly had just stolen gas for the purloined vehicle led police on a lengthy car chase that ended in Douglas County Sunday night.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said the chase began at about 11:10 p.m. near the intersection of Avenue G and Agate Road in White City. A deputy in the area spotted a Chevy Nova he recognized as being reported stolen out of Phoenix, then heard a message from a dispatcher that the vehicle's occupants had just stolen gas nearby.

"It was just all at once," said Capt. Nathan Sickler.

The deputy tried to pull the vehicle over near Agate Road's intersection with Highway 234. The vehicle continued on, eventually turning onto Highway 62, then Highway 227, with police trailing behind.

"The average speeds were probably between 65 and 85 mph," Sickler said, adding it got up to 100 mph at one point, though that was short-lived.

The vehicle eventually traveled into Douglas County, but was stopped by spike strips laid down by Douglas County Sheriff's Department deputies just outside Canyonville. The driver, Anthony Morris, 29, and passenger Cole Ziegler, 21, were arrested.

"They just gave up at the point their tires were deflated," Sickler said.

The pursuit lasted about 50 minutes in total, he added. Morris was arrested on charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, theft, attempt to elude and disorderly conduct. Ziegler was arrested on a probation violation and unlawful use of a motor vehicle. Neither was listed in the Jackson County Jail Monday.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.