'Today we die': UPS driver taken hostage in San Jose during hijacking, chase, deadly standoff breaks silence exclusively to ABC7

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Thursday, March 21, 2019
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The UPS driver held hostage during the Valentine's Day hijacking, police chase and deadly standoff in San Jose spoke exclusively to ABC7 News.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The UPS driver held hostage during the Valentine's Day hijacking, police chase and deadly standoff in San Jose is breaking his silence. It's a story you'll only see on ABC7 News.

On Feb. 14, Mitch Ellerd was filling in for another UPS driver who was on vacation. Ellerd was at work, ahead of schedule, and on the phone with his wife and two kids. The family was discussing Valentine's Day cards for dad.

"All I had left was that little area in Communications Hill," Ellerd said. "And that's when I met them."

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He was referring to suspects Joanna Mae Macy-Rogers and Mark Morasky.

"She had come up too, and he had gotten close, and he told me, he said, 'I'm telling you. You're going to get me out of here and you're going to get me out of here now!'"

Ellerd continued, "They were very direct, like there was going to be an issue. So I just said 'You know what, guy?' I just turned and I said, 'You know what? Just take the truck.' When I turned back, there it was, right in my face." A gun carried by Morasky.

The hijacking and hostage taking began. As Ellerd jumped behind the wheel, he heard sirens. He noticed the sound, inching closer.

"I told him, I go, 'Hey, there's cops everywhere.' And he told me, 'Hey, just pull over.' He said, they'll drive right by," Ellerd told ABC7 News.

He learned later that the San Jose Police Department was monitoring from the sky.

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Ellerd was then forced onto Northbound 87. The move brought Ellerd the first moment he thought to bail.

"When I started to make the right hand turn to get onto the freeway, I was going to jump out of the truck," he said. "When I started making the turn, I had reached over with my left hand and I was trying to unbuckle my seat belt. Well, he caught me, and he got pretty upset. Very upset."

Ellerd continued driving. From that point on, Morasky kept a grip on Ellerd's seat belt. Behind the UPS truck was a sea of patrol cars.

"When I saw that many officers behind me, it was kind of like, I'm in trouble," Ellerd admitted. "Because I figured this guy did something pretty bad."

His only thought, keep driving.

"I figured as long as we were driving, we're okay. We're okay for now," Ellerd said.

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Ellerd said the scene surrounding the truck was like something straight out of the movies.

"But when you're in the driver's seat and you're the one who's driving away from them, it's uncomfortable," he told ABC7 News.

Ellerd stayed under 50 miles per hour and purposely hit spike strips near 87 and Taylor Street.

Minutes later and miles away, the truck came to a stop at North 1st Street and Trimble Road in North San Jose.

It was there that Macy-Rogers surrendered, leaving the two men inside the truck.

Although little was said between the two men, Morasky admitted he had nothing to lose.

"He had gotten back low and he had started stressing out about his daughter, and how he's not going to let his daughter be part of this. And he had looked right at me and it was the one and only time he had done this. He had looked over at me and he said, 'This is why I'm not going back. I'm not going back.' He said, 'I'm not dealing with all this.' He looked at me and he said, 'Today we die.'"

Morasky's emotions were everywhere, according to Ellerd.

"He was just crying. He was bawling, and I was just sitting there quietly," Ellerd said. "He just randomly asked me, he goes, 'Can I show you a picture of my daughter?' And I said, 'Yeah, absolutely.'"

Ellerd's release came shortly after one last exchange, "I said, 'Can I show you a picture of my daughter?'"

Ellerd and his wife Michelle have two young kids - a 6-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy who are happy to have their dad home and close, before he eventually heads back to work at UPS.