A Roseburg woman faces arson and harassment charges after allegedly setting a house in Sutherlin on fire and kicking a police officer in the groin Monday.
Deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a fire at a home in the 400 block of North Side Road in Sutherlin around 12:45 p.m. Monday, where they found a woman identified as Diane Elaine Morey holding a lighter while running from the residence.
Court documents describe what began as a family dispute and the attempts by multiple law enforcement officers to physically subdue Morey — all while an escalating house fire was burning in the background.
Deputies had responded to the home a few minutes earlier when a neighbor reported that Diane Morey had locked Debra Morey out of the home. Debra Morey had requested that deputies “kick her door open,” but the deputies declined to do so because Diane Morey had been an invited guest. The situation seemed resolved so the deputies left, according to court documents.
When deputies returned, they could see smoke and noticed the front door was open, according to court documents.
A deputy heard glass breaking and went to investigate.
“It appeared (Diane Morey) had just jumped headfirst through the window which was a few feet off the ground,” the report said. “She was bleeding from the head and had soot all over her face.”
Deputies then reported seeing heavy smoke pouring from the broken windows.
As Diane Morey tried to flee, she was cut off by deputies who told her to get on the ground. She allegedly refused, and instead wrapped her arms around the top of a barbed wire fence.
The Douglas County jail commander happened to be off duty nearby and ran to assist in the attempt to detain Morey. At one point, Morey swung and struck the jail commander “in the groin, thigh area,” according to court documents. By this time, another off-duty deputy ran to assist along with the arrival of a Sutherlin police officer.
“It should be noted that the fire was obviously rapidly spreading through the house and we were within about 6-10 feet from the burning house and the smoke was getting thicker it was clear that the fire was spreading and was quickly going to be a life threat to us as well as Morey, so it was imperative to get her in custody as fast as possible,” the court document said.
It took a knee strike and “focused blows to her back” to handcuff Diane Morey in a fight that lasted about two minutes, according to police.
By the time Diane Morey was arrested and away from the fire, the structure was allegedly fully involved.
Morey, 37, was charged with two counts of first-degree arson, harassment, resisting arrest and lodged in the Douglas County Jail.
The sheriff’s office was assisted by Oregon State Police arson investigators, the Sutherlin Police Department and the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office. Sutherlin, Oakland and Fair Oaks fire departments all responded to the scene as well.