A high speed chase on Saturday evening put others in danger, including a passenger who uses a wheelchair for mobility, Washington State Patrol officials said today.
Lonnie Lee Montoya, 28, 205 W. Chestnut St., is in jail after allegedly driving under the influence of intoxicants and reaching speeds of 120 mph while being pursued by a state trooper.
Montoya was eastbound on U.S. Highway 12 at about 6:40 p.m. above the posted limit of 60 mph, according to the incident report.
A state trooper attempted to stop the 1994 Honda Accord after witnessing the car make an unsafe pass.
The car then sped up, passing other cars and driving on both sides of the road, veering back and forth over the center line, noted Sgt. Mike Eggleston, WSP spokesman.
After about eight minutes, the vehicle slowed and attempted to make a right turn onto Spaulding Road. "He failed to negotiate the curve and drove straight into the ditch," Eggleston said.
The car came to a stop in the roadside weeds, he said.
Once the car was stopped, Montoya moved into the back seat of the car, Eggleston said. The right rear door opened and he fell onto the ground. The passenger, who is paralyzed from the waist down, slid himself over into the driver's seat, law enforcement officials said this morning.
Officers noted the driver had a strong smell of intoxicants and red, watery eyes, the report said.
Montoya suffered a possible leg injury and was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center. He was arrested without incident and booked into Walla Walla County Jail for investigation of driving while under the influence, reckless endangerment, attempting to elude and driving without a license.
Sheila Hagar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8322.