ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: UPS driver taken hostage thanks officers, his company and community

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Friday, March 22, 2019
EXCLUSIVE: UPS driver taken hostage thanks officers, his company and community
EXCLUSIVE: UPS driver taken hostage thanks officers, his company and community

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On Thursday, February 14, an armed hijacking led to a wild chase, and eventually several intense hours of hostage negotiation in San Jose.

The man forced behind the wheel at gunpoint was UPS driver, Mitch Ellerd.

Ellerd spoke exclusively about the ordeal with ABC7 News.

RELATED: UPS driver taken hostage in San Jose during hijacking, chase, deadly standoff breaks silence exclusively to ABC7

"I was just in a situation that nobody wanted to be a part of," Ellerd admitted.

A situation that put suspects Joanna Mae Macy-Rogers and Mark Morasky in the cab of Ellerd's UPS truck. He was being held at gunpoint.

Ellerd was forced to travel miles and was followed by a sea of patrol cars. He stopped the truck at North First Street and Trimble Road.

Days later, SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia told ABC7 News, "The things that he did not only to keep himself safe, but to help us capture this violent felon, is amazing."

EXCLUSIVE: UPS driver taken hostage in SJ was covering for coworker on vacation

"I don't think I'm a hero," Ellerd said. "I think the police department is. They're the ones that kept us all good. That's who I'd put my money on."

Police have praised the husband and father of three for his calmness and quick thinking. While recalling some of the most terrifying moments of his life, Ellerd maintained that demeanor.

"They were scared, they were terrified people," he said about the suspects. "So like I said, I don't want them thinking I hate these people. I don't know them."

"I will say this, I am sorry to their families," Ellerd said.

RELATED: UPS driver hailed as hero during wild San Jose chase

Families he imagined were glued to the breaking development, like much of the nation. Macy-Rogers eventually surrendered.

At that point, Ellerd and suspect Morasky shared a brief moment, before the UPS driver was released.

"I said, 'Look, I'm not running from you. Whenever you're ready for me to go,' I said, 'I'll go, but until then, I'm okay.'"

"He goes, 'I know you don't know me and you didn't mean to know me, and I know you didn't mean to know me, but you're all I've got right now. You're my brother, you're my brother, you'll always be my brother,'" Ellerd said about some of his final conversations with Morasky.

Morasky then let Ellerd go.

RELATED: Woman charged with attempted murder in San Jose standoff, hostage situation

Moments later, Morasky ran from the UPS truck, gun in hand before he was shot and killed by a police officer.

Ellerd says even today, he holds not judgement against the people who put his life at risk.

Ellerd said moving forward involves recognizing the collective work from everyone involved in the tense development.

"Between UPS, my union... Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, San Jose Police Department, City Hall, this was a terrible situation, it wasn't fun. But the things that have happened afterward have been just overwhelming," Ellerd said.

About UPS, he said, "It's a true brotherhood there. I am beyond grateful."

Even more grateful that he was able to return home to his wife and three kids. He admitted that outcome wasn't entirely clear as he described the most chilling point that evening.

Ellerd said, "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 a 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."