Local law enforcement assist state police in freeway car chase ending on Adams Avenue

Dec. 22—LA GRANDE — Law enforcement took a Portland man into custody after a car pursuit on Interstate 84 turned into a chase down Adams Avenue during the night of Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Roman Cosovan, 32, was arrested on charges of first-degree criminal mischief, felony fleeing, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The La Grande Police Department, along with the Union County Sheriff's Office, assisted Oregon State Police with the pursuit. La Grande Police Lt. Jason Hays said that no one was injured.

OSP in Umatilla County alerted local law enforcement around 8:22 p.m. that they were pursuing a possible impaired driver on Interstate 84 traveling east toward La Grande, Hays said. OSP had stopped Cosovan driving a silver Dodge Caravan near Pendleton for an equipment violation when the trooper observed signs of impairment, according to the probable cause declaration. Cosovan fled the traffic stop after he was told that his vehicle was going to be towed.

In the probable cause declaration, Officer Ryan Herbel stated he heard over the radio that Cosovan was weaving all over both lanes of the freeway.

The eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed between Exit 216 and Exit 265 because of a semitrailer crash just after Exit 259 that was blocking both lanes, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Herbel reported that due to this closure law enforcement knew there was no way Cosovan would be able to continue on the freeway without taking exit 259 and driving through the city of La Grande.

"Due to the observations of impairment and the driving pattern observed by the trooper, we wanted the vehicle to be slowed or stopped before it made it into the city for the safety of the public," Herbel wrote.

Hays said that officers put out spike strips on Highway 30 near Gangloff Park, which deflated the back tires of Cosovan's car. Union County deputies pulled onto the road behind Cosovan and pursued when he continued to flee, police reports said

Herbel noted the roads were extremely slick and covered in ice from the snow and rain.

Cosovan fled down Adams Avenue — running at least one red light at the corner of Adams Avenue and Depot Street. He forced a car off the road and caused it to crash into a building near Adams Avenue and 18th Street. Cosovan then lost control of his car at Adams Avenue and 20th Street — sliding across the road and into oncoming traffic. He went off the road and drove over a small tree next to Community Bank before getting back onto Adams and driving east.

The car came to a stop after Deputy Dane Jensen redirected the car and Cosovan crashed into the curb in front of Les Schwab Tire Center, 2306 Adams Ave.

Cosovan was ordered to get out of the car with his hands up, but failed to do so. The car doors were locked, which led Deputy Dustin Heath to break the passenger window so law enforcement could get into the car.

Herbel reported in the probable cause declaration that Cosovan "said he ran because the voice told him to."

Cosovan has been appointed counsel by Union County Circuit Court. He will be represented by La Grande attorney Jared Boyd.

Isabella Crowley is a reporter for The Observer. Contact her at 541-624-6014 or icrowley@lagrandeobserver.com.