Alleged Car Thief Leads Police on Chase – to Hermiston Police Station


A police chase involving a person alleged to have stolen a car in Hermiston came to an end in the early morning hours of Sunday when the suspect stopped in the parking lot of the Hermiston Police Department where she was arrested and lodged in the Umatilla County Jail.

Hope Morasch

The incident began shortly after 2 a.m., when the Hermiston Police Department was notified that a Kia sedan had been stolen from the 900 block of S.W. 11th Street. The vehicle owner said he started the car to warm it up, then momentarily went back inside. When he returned to the car, he found it had been stolen.

While a officer was driving to the scene, the Umatilla Police Department found the vehicle in their city and tried to make a traffic stop. The driver did not pull over and the Umatilla Police, assisted by the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, chased the car back into Hermiston.

Hermiston officers were not directly involved in the pursuit. They did attempt, without success, to deploy spike strips but were unable to get into position.

Eventually, the alleged driver of the stolen car, 26-year-old Hope Morasch of Hermiston, stopped in the parking lot of the Hermiston Police Department. She was taken into custody without further incident. Officers recovered a firearm from a purse in the vehicle, which they believe belonged to Morasch. She has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, reckless driving, attempting to elude a police officer, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

There were no injuries or property damage resulting from the incident, according to Hermiston police.

“This is one more incident that highlights the importance of effective partnerships between law enforcement agencies,” said Lt. Randy Studebaker of the HPD. “It’s also a reminder to lock your car, take your keys, and hide your valuables when leaving your vehicle unattended. The majority of the vehicles reported stolen in Hermiston were left unlocked, with the keys in the ignition or available nearby.”