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Spike strips end 100 mph police chase

A 33-year-old woman allegedly led multiple Rogue Valley police agencies on a high-speed Interstate 5 chase in a stolen SUV Wednesday evening, the pursuit ending with spiked tires falling off the vehicle and a successful PIT maneuver in the freeway median.

But before all that went down, the woman reportedly made a quick stop to drop off a dog that had been in the vehicle during the alleged theft with a random passerby.

Laura Ashley De Los Santos, 33, made the dropoff with a female jogger around 5:40 p.m. at a spot somewhere along Holcomb Springs Road in the Gold Hill area, said Mike Moran, public information officer for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

“That was an odd one,” Moran said. “(She) just rolls up and says, ‘Hey, I’m in an elude with the police,’ and ‘Here, take this dog.’”

The jogger obliged and took the dog. De Los Santos took off, Moran said.

About three hours prior to that dropoff, multiple Southern Oregon law enforcement agencies had received an attempt to locate bulletin from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, according to a sheriff’s department Facebook post. Grants Pass police reported a vehicle had been stolen, and that the victim’s dog and a .22-caliber rifle were inside. The female suspect intentionally drove the stolen vehicle at a Grants Pass police officer, the agency reported. Police briefly saw De Los Santos in the Rogue River area at about 3:30 p.m. but were not able to catch up to her.

De Los Santos dropped the dog off with the jogger about two hours later. What happened during that two-hour interim was not known, Moran said.

The jogger called police to report the encounter. At about 6:10 p.m., Oregon State Police and Jackson County sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen vehicle near Central Point and gave chase as De Los Santos traveled south on the freeway, Moran said.

“The vehicle drove at speeds of over 100 mph and weaved in and out of traffic,” a probable cause affidavit said.

Medford police used a spike strip near exit 27. Shortly after, the vehicle’s front two tires fell off, slowing the chase speed to about 10 to 15 mph. The chase ended at milepost 25 at 6:28 p.m. when police used a PIT maneuver on the vehicle, allowing units to box it in. Police from Central Point, Medford, Phoenix and Talent aided in the pursuit, Moran said.

De Los Santos was arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Tuesday on felony charges of attempting to elude, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and possession of a stolen vehicle. She was also arraigned on a misdemeanor reckless driving charge. She remained in the Jackson County Jail Tuesday on $20,000 bail. Information about where De Los Santos lives was not available, though she has a driver’s license out of Eureka, California, Moran said.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

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