A police chase on Highway 97 between Bend and Redmond Sunday night was related to a homicide investigation in the Powell Butte area earlier in the day. That suspect is now facing a potential murder charge.
Multiple people caught behind the areas that deputies blocked off have shared their videos of the chase.
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the investigation began at about 2:56 p.m. Sunday with a 911 call. The caller, who the sheriff’s office identified as Russell Votruba, 42, allegedly claimed he had killed the victim, identified as Christopher Hoffman, 41.
Powell Butte resident Randy Curths says the crime scene left him and other neighbors confused.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Curths said. “There was police tape across their driveway. Unbeknownst to us, a neighbor had left us a message saying ‘Do you guys have any information about this shooting last night?'”
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Deputies arrived at the residence to find the doors were open, the sheriff’s office said, and Hoffman was found deceased inside. Nobody else was home.
The sheriff’s office said Votruba, who is from Newport, had driven away in Hoffman’s black 2021 BMW.
Below is raw video from Highway 97 at Yew Avenue as the pursuit was headed toward a roadblock. It has been edited to remove profanities.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said the SUV was spotted on Hunnell Road. DCSO said as deputies followed the SUV until other units arrived, the driver sped off at high speed. That launched the pursuit.
DCSO said all southbound traffic was stopped as precaution. Spike strips were set up near SW Tomahawk Avenue, but the driver was able to avoid them.
Deputies finally stopped the vehicle new Yew Avenue on the south end of Redmond using what DCSO said was the Pursuit Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver.
DCSO said as deputies tried to capture Votruba, they heard multiple gunshots from inside the vehicle. The sheriff’s office said Votruba shot himself numerous times.
A person posted video on the Central Oregon Daily News Facebook page of the chase. You can see the BMW drive off the road new Yew Avenue. with several police vehicles following it. The person who posted the silent video said he could hear about 10 gunshots afterward.
Below is raw video from someone caught in the northbound backup on Highway 97.
After deputies attempted lifesaving measures, Votruba was taken to St. Charles Hospital. He was released and booked into the Crook County Jail.
Per court docs, Crook County District Attorney Kari Hathorn is accusing Votruba of:
- Second degree murder
- First degree manslaughter
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- Unlawful use of a weapon
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
A possible motive for the homicide was not released.
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who had contact with Votruba or Hoffman between Friday, May 5, and Sunday, May 7, to contact the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.