California woman leads state police on chase across two counties

ONTARIO – A driver going the wrong way on Interstate 84 led police on a 38-mile chase for almost an hour before she was stopped and arrested in Baker County.

Police said Lori Michelle Sorahan, 49, Fort Bragg, Calif., was driving a maroon 1999 Cadillac west in the eastbound lanes of the interstate near Ontario early Friday morning.

Lt. Mark Duncan, the Oregon State Police Ontario station commander, responded to the report of a wrong-way driver and caught up with the car near Farewell Bend.

Duncan, traveling in the westbound lane, said he drove parallel with the Cadillac and splashed it with his patrol car spotlight. Duncan said Sorahan looked right at him but kept going the wrong way.

Duncan said the car drove erratically – moving from one side of the freeway to the other, often pointing head-on at other cars – as it sped into Baker County.

Duncan said the it was fortunate chase occurred between 3:30 a.m. and 4:40 a.m. when fewer vehicles were on the road.

“Because if it had been during the day there would have been a fatal,” said Duncan.

Duncan estimated the Cadillac nearly struck 70 vehicles and reached speeds in excess of 90 mph, at times slowing to a near stop and then speeding up again.

“It was scary. And horrifying and I felt helpless. I couldn’t get ahead of her to deploy spikes and I was on the wrong side of the highway from her,” said Duncan.

Sorahan eventually veered off of the interstate onto Old U.S. Highway 30 near Pleasant Valley in Baker County, with Duncan following.

Four miles down Highway 30, at exit 313, Sorahan attempted to get back onto the westbound lanes of I-84.

“She made the turn to get on the on-ramp and I forced her vehicle onto the shoulder,” said Duncan.

Duncan jumped out of his patrol car and arrested Sorahan.

Sorahan was arrested for reckless driving, attempt to elude, DUII, and reckless endangering another person.

She was lodged in the Baker County Jail.

Duncan said he was relieved with the end of the chase.

“You are just thinking, ‘How can I bring this to a safe conclusion,’” said Duncan. “But you have to act. You have to come to a decision.”


Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.