ONTARIO -- A high-speed chase out of Idaho ended in a fatality in Ontario on Thursday afternoon.
Victor J. Morales Zavala, 25, of Ontario died at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario as the result of a gunshot wound following a chase that ended on East Idaho Avenue near the railroad underpass.
The road was shut down for several hours.
According to a news release from the Malheur County District Attorney’s office, at approximately 4:35 p.m., Ontario police officers were advised that a yellow Dodge pickup truck was in a high speed pursuit with Idaho authorities heading toward Oregon.
The vehicle reached Ontario and was hit with spike strips at 4:47 p.m. The driver was able to continue driving despite the burst tires, states the release. The car then exited the Interstate-84 and entered Ontario.
Officers identified the driver as Zavala, and the vehicle was determined to have been stolen, according to the district attorney’s office.
Zavala brought his vehicle to a stop on East Idaho Avenue just west of the underpass after being pursued by multiple agencies. This included Oregon and Idaho state police troopers and Ontario Police officers.
According to the release, the investigation revealed that Zavala had a firearm, which he at some point held to his own head.
At approximately 4:51 p.m., shots were fired on scene and Zavala was down with a gunshot wound. He was transported to the hospital at 5:11 p.m., and was pronounced dead “a short time later” states the release.
Police blocked off the East Idaho Avenue underpass which clogged side streets, particularly Southeast Fifth Avenue until a volunteer from Citizens on Patrol began directing traffic. The road wasn’t reopened until 9:48 p.m., according to the release.
OSP, along with Malheur County Sheriff’s Office and High Desert Drug Task Force all assisted with investigation on scene. Members of Treasure Valley Paramedics and Ontario Fire were also there to assist.
Malheur County Sheriff’s Office is the lead on the investigation. All involved troopers will be interviewed and any dash camera footage will be reviewed, the release states.