Oregon man, fleeing police, gets stuck in badger hole

ONTARIO, Ore. -- An Ontario man trying to get away from police made a poor choice in picking a hiding spot Thursday. 

Rescuers spent an hour-and-a-half working to get 22-year-old Gregory Morrow out of a badger hole after he became stuck about eight feet underground.

The bizarre incident began at about 7:30 a.m. when an OSP trooper spotted two men and a dog in a stolen car. But when the trooper tried to pull the car over in a Jack in the Box parking lot on 4th Street, the car jumped a curb and took off, police say.

Officers with the Ontario Police Department pursued the vehicle, but called off the chase due to safety concerns. A short time later, police received information leading them to Bureau of Land Management Land near Vale.

It was there that police found 35-year-old Jerry Boatman of Ontario, who police say was the passenger in the stolen car. Boatman, who was on foot, was arrested and taken into custody on charges of escape and violating his parole.

Officers continued to search for the driver - later identified as Morrow - by ground and by air. After hours of searching, law enforcement spotted the stolen car in a ravine. Police followed tracks leading away from the ravine until they came upon the dog that had been in the car with the two suspects. As officers got close, however, the dog ran into a large badger hole and wouldn't come out, according to OSP.

As officers removed the dog from the hole, they heard a man screaming for help from deep underground, police say.

They quickly realized that Morrow had climbed into the hole feet-first and gotten stuck in the narrow passage. He told officers he was losing feeling in his arms. It took police more than an hour of digging to reach Morrow and get him out.

Once the suspect was unearthed, he was promptly taken into custody. Morrow was taken to Saint Alphonsus  in Ontario for treatment of minor injuries before being arrested on a parole violation warrant.

Additional charges are pending, police say.

OSP says Morrow would likely have died from exposure if he had not been found. The Ontario Police Department, Malheur County Sheriff's Office and Vale Fire and Rescue all helped dig up the suspect. 

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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