Crime

This man got stuck in a badger hole while fleeing police. Here’s what happened next.

Police dig out a fleeing suspect, Gregory A. Morrow, after he got stuck 8 feet underground in a badger hole in Eastern Oregon on Nov. 3.
Police dig out a fleeing suspect, Gregory A. Morrow, after he got stuck 8 feet underground in a badger hole in Eastern Oregon on Nov. 3. Provided by Oregon State Police

The sagebrush-dotted high desert in Eastern Oregon does not offer a lot of places to hide when fleeing from police.

But wily Gregory A. Morrow, 22, of Ontario, found a large badger hole to crawl into and hide. He may have gone undetected had his dog not run and crawled into the hole with him when it saw police approaching. It is a good thing the dog led police to the hideaway, because Morrow was stuck about 8 feet underground.

Police spent more than an hour digging him out.

According to an Oregon State Police news release, Morrow most likely would have died from exposure had he not been rescued.

The incident began about 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Ontario, when an Oregon State Police trooper saw a stolen vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe, and tried to get it to stop. The driver drove away. An Ontario Police officer pursued the vehicle for a short distance but called off the pursuit over safety concerns.

Inside were Morrow, his dog and another man. Police learned later that the men were on Bureau of Land Management land near Vale. They began a ground and air search and located Jerry E. Boatman, 35, of Ontario, traveling by foot. He was arrested and charged with escape and parole violation.

A couple of hours later, police spotted the Tahoe in a ravine. Police followed the tracks leading from the vehicle for more than a mile before they spotted the dog.

As officers approached the animal, it fled into the badger hole. Police got the dog out and heard a man screaming for help from within the hole. Police discovered Morrow feet first in the hole. He said he his arms were going numb.

Police spent an hour and a half digging. Morrow was taken to Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Ontario and treated for minor injuries. Police arrested him on a parole violation warrant and said further charges are pending.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell

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