A 27-year-old woman, Joanna Mae Macy-Rodgers, has pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, carjacking, and false imprisonment of a hostage. The incident occurred during a high-speed chase on Valentine’s Day in 2019 in San Jose, California. Macy-Rodgers, along with her accomplice Mark Morasky, fired a shotgun at authorities during the pursuit.
The chase began when two Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies approached an illegally parked SUV at the Ohlone-Chynoweth light rail station. Morasky, who was behind the wheel, sped away, and Macy-Rodgers fired a shotgun at the deputies, hitting their vehicle and a bystander’s car.
The couple drove the wrong way on Highway 87 and eventually carjacked a UPS truck driver, Mitchell Ellerd, on Communications Hill. They threatened Ellerd with a shotgun and forced him to drive them away in his truck. Ellerd cooperated with the authorities by maintaining a speed of approximately 50 mph and intentionally running over road spikes laid by law enforcement to disable the truck.
Macy-Rodgers surrendered to authorities when the truck finally stopped at North First Street and West Trimble Road. However, Morasky initially refused to surrender and held Ellerd hostage. He later released Ellerd but attempted to escape again in the truck. San Jose police officers and sheriff’s deputies blocked his path with armored vehicles.
Morasky then pointed a shotgun at the authorities, left the truck with the loaded firearm, and ran towards an area where members of the media were present behind police barricades. Officer Nicholas Bronte fired a single shot from his service rifle, fatally striking Morasky.
At the time of the incident, Morasky was on parole after serving four years in prison for a 2012 carjacking and two robberies in San Jose and Saratoga. These prior convictions made him eligible for life in prison under the state’s three-strikes law.
Joanna Mae Macy-Rodgers now faces a potential life sentence for her involvement in the crimes. District Attorney Jeff Rosen commended the law enforcement agencies involved, stating that they prevented further violence and ensured public safety.