Thursday, December 2, 2021

Domestic dispute, stolen vehicles and an RV chase in Newport

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Justin Werner
Justin Werner is a publisher/journalist living in Lincoln City, Oregon. He strives to get all sides of a story and maintains strict ethical standards for both of the publications he oversees.
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Newport Police have a man in custody and a woman under investigation after responding to a domestic disturbance Tuesday night, finding a stolen vehicle a few hours later and engaging in a 14-mile stolen RV chase Wednesday morning.

Newport officers investigated a possible domestic dispute near NW 25th Street and NW Oceanview Drive in Newport 9 p.m. Tuesday. The couple was uncooperative with law enforcement and it was determined no crime had taken place and the man and woman left on foot.

Officers later found an unoccupied vehicle associated with the couple that came back stolen out of Portland. The vehicle was seized and towed to a storage facility.

At midnight, a Newport Police officer tried to pull over a motorhome for a traffic violation. Police found out it was stolen, and that the couple contacted earlier for the domestic situation were driving. The driver failed to pull over and sped away north on Highway 101 at speeds ranging from 30-60 mph with law enforcement in pursuit blazing lights and sirens.

Police say the driver drove erratically, swerving across lanes in light traffic, until ultimately hitting spike strips, effectively ending the vehicle chase. Before the RV hit the spikes, police say the driver “purposefully swerved toward the deputy” who deployed them, narrowly missing him.

The suspects fled on foot through neighboring yards of area homes with officers hot on their tail. Police caught one of them, a woman named Aurora Alexandra Matta, 32, of Portland. She was put in handcuffs and a perimeter was set up by Newport Police, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police.

Deputy Zach Akin and K9 Ghost responded to the scene and found 31-year-old Vernon Brock Heaps, of Portland, hiding in a yard a short distance from where the motorhome was stopped. Heaps was taken into custody and faces reckless endangering, eluding, reckless driving, possession of a stolen vehicle, giving false information and criminal mischief. He was taken to the Lincoln County Jail and awaits pretrial with a $200,000 bail. Former Lincoln County District Attorney Jonathan Cable will represent Heaps.

Matta is under investigation to determine her involvement in the stolen vehicle case. She is not in custody at this time.

Investigating officers confirmed Heaps and Matta were driving the earlier recovered stolen vehicle from Portland.

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