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Felony charges follow high-speed chase in stolen BMW

A Portland woman faces charges accusing her of stealing a new BMW coupe off the dealer lot and leading police on a chase across Southern Oregon that at times reached triple-digit speeds.

Stephanie Chavez, 31, faces felony vehicle theft and elude charges alleging that she took a 2022 BMW M240i coupe off the lot Wednesday afternoon and eluded multiple law enforcement agencies before coming to an end south of Grants Pass with the Ultimate Driving Machine’s tires spiked.

At 3:31 p.m. Wednesday, police say Chavez came into Medford BMW in the 4600 block of Grumman Drive expressing interest in buying a vehicle, according to a Medford police social media post about the chase and an affidavit filed by police in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Chavez allegedly drove off in the white all-wheel-drive coupe while a dealership worker went inside looking for an employee to accompany Chavez during the test drive.

“Employees tried to get her to stop as she left the parking lot, but she continued,” the Medford police post states.

The BMW fled on Crater Lake Highway toward town, where a Medford police officer spotted the car, flipped on the patrol car’s emergency lights, pulled a U-turn and attempted a traffic stop. The coupe kept going.

It turned north on Biddle Road into Central Point, and merged onto northbound Interstate 5 at the Exit 33 on-ramp.

Speeds reached more than 100 mph on the freeway, according to police. By then, Oregon State Police, Jackson County Sheriffs Office and Rogue River police were following the BMW.

The car came to a stop at about mile marker 51 — between Rogue River and Grants Pass — shortly after spike strips flattened the BMW’s tires.

The Alpine White sports car carries a sticker price of $52,695, according to the dealer’s website.

Court records showed that Chavez — in addition to felony charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and attempt to elude a police officer charges — will face misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person.

As of late Thursday morning, it was unclear when Chavez would make her first court appearance on the charges. Court records show that a Thursday afternoon arraignment was canceled, and Jackson County Jail records showed that Chavez was in the process of getting released.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.