Police: Woman calls in school threat hoax during car chase in Grants Pass

The passenger in a vehicle being pursued by police allegedly called in the threat to Grants Pass High in an apparent attempt to distract officers.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 3:36 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2020 3:40 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Police officers responded to Grants Pass High School on Wednesday morning after the passenger in a car chase made a false report of a threat to the school, according to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

The incident began with deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff's Office pursuing a car driven by 27-year-old Joseph Botello, the agency said. While the chase was still going on, dispatch received a 911 call reporting that three males were standing outside of Grants Pass High, threatening to fire guns at the school.

Officers from Grants Pass police quickly responded to the school, joining a school resource officer who was already on the scene. They investigated the area and found no sign of the reported threat.

Soon after the school response, deputies were able to stop and question Botello and his passenger, GPDPS said. 18-year-old Breanna Owens-Smith, the passenger, was determined to have called in the threat to the school.

Owens-Smith was cited for Improper Use of 911 and Disorderly Conduct, both misdemeanors, and released.

Botello was taken to the Josephine County Jail on a laundry list of charges — 19 counts including vehicle theft, reckless driving, eluding police, hit and run, robbery, and assault.

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